Report: Knicks Weren't Convinced RJ Barrett Was Worth Big Contract Early in Summer

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 4, 2022

New York Knicks' RJ Barrett (9) runs the court during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
AP Photo/Jason DeCrow

The New York Knicks signed RJ Barrett to a four-year extension, but that apparently wasn't the team's initial plans this offseason.

"I had heard pretty strongly earlier in the summer that the Knicks weren't actually all that convinced Barrett was worth a big extension and their priority was holding onto Quentin Grimes," David Aldridge of The Athletic reported.

The contract, which came after a failed attempt to trade for Donovan Mitchell, is worth up to $120 million over four years.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks would have preferred to wait until the October deadline to sign Barrett or even next season as a restricted free agent.

Barrett was heading into the final year of his rookie contract after averaging 20.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game last season. While the scoring was a career high, his efficiency dropped from the previous year while shooting just 40.8 percent from the field and 34.2 percent from three. His 2.3 win shares ranked 202nd in the NBA, per Basketball Reference.

After the Knicks struggled to a 37-45 record in 2021-22, the front office hadn't necessarily seen the guard as a key part of the future.

The mindset has now clearly changed, however, likely because of the lack of alternatives on the trade market.