The New York Knicks have the ability to extend wing R.J. Barrett’s contract this offseason, but one Eastern Conference general manager doesn’t believe the Knicks youngster will receive a max deal.
Barrett, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract in the 2022-23 season, has been one of New York’s best players over the past few seasons.
“R.J. is extension-eligible,” the GM said to Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney. “That is a tough position. He might want max money or something close to it. He is not going to get it. It’s a tough negotiation for the Knicks with that because you have to commit to $30 million per year for a guy who is very good as a scorer and has potential but has not shown he is an elite player, really. There is interest in R.J. but no one wants to trade for him, then take on the job of negotiating with him. Let the Knicks do that.”
While the general manager may not view Barrett as a max player, the Knicks may still give him a major deal if they believe he has the potential to grow into an All-Star caliber player.
Barrett has become a better defender since entering the league. On top of that, he finished the 2021-22 season averaging 20.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game while shooting 40.8 percent from the field and 34.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Barrett’s efficiency is certainly going to need to improve, but he did shoot 40.1 percent from beyond the arc in the 2020-21 season to help lead the Knicks to the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
With New York building a solid young core and signing guard Jalen Brunson this offseason, the team likely wants to keep Barrett on the roster going forward.
It will be interesting to see how the Knicks handle contract negotiations with the former No. 3 overall pick ahead of the 2022-23 season.