Knicks: Has RJ Barrett’s strong start removed him from future trade rumors?

NBA: New York Knicks at Cleveland Cavaliers
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett has had a tremendous start to the 2023 season, so does this mean his long-term spot on the Knicks is secured?

Has RJ Barrett made himself untradeable?

The former No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft is currently averaging 22.6 points and is shooting 48/50/84 splits through the first seven games of the season. The Knicks are 5-2 in games he has played in so far this season.

During the offseason, many trade rumors sparked surrounding the Knicks potentially going after superstar talents like Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns, with Barrett as the centerpiece that would go the other way in a hypothetical trade.

Barrett’s inconsistent 2022 season is what sparked those rumors just one season after New York signed him to a four-year/$120 million extension. However, last year’s postseason he stepped up, and it seems as though that was an indication of a potential leap in his fifth NBA season.

Along with the offensive improvements, he has bounced back from last season’s regression on defense as well, quickly developing into a lethal two-way threat.

So with him potentially blossoming into that third star the Knicks had been patiently waiting for out of him, do they decide to shop him on the market with his increased value, or make him a main component of their future?

The Knicks would likely need to package Barrett in a deal for a top star

If the Knicks anticipate going after a premier star like Embiid as previously mentioned, it will likely cost them at least one of Barrett or Julius Randle along with an additional rotation piece and an assortment of draft capital, undoubtedly a large haul in exchange for one player.

However, they could feel as though Barrett could develop into an all-star and a potentially better long-term fit as opposed to trading him and a bunch of other assets for one piece of the puzzle, and it would cost significantly less to keep him around.

Ultimately for the Knicks, it depends on who becomes available on the market and at what price. New York has been notorious for playing the markets conservatively over the past few seasons, so it would not be a shock to see them be patient with Barrett before making a decision on his future with the organization.

For now, the focus remains on how Barrett will impact the Knicks this season, and so far it has been only positive. The hope is that said impact will continue to be put on display as the season progresses.

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