To be clear, one of the worst things the New York Knicks can do is trade away RJ Barrett, but according to some reports, he could be on the chopping block if a star point guard becomes available this off-season.
With rumors that Damian Lillard and even Bradley Beal could be on the open market for a monstrous haul, the Knicks would undoubtedly have to package together an attractive deal to sway either the Portland Trailblazers or Washington Wizards. The belief is that Barrett would have to be included, coming off his best season yet at 20 years old. Playing in all 72 games, Barrett averaged 17.6 points, 3.0 assists, 5.8 rebounds, and shot .441 from the field. He also elevated his three-point percentage to .401 over 4.3 attempts per game.
The developmental leap Barrett took this past season was astronomical, and having just turned of age to purchase alcohol in the USA, he has a bright future ahead of him.
Kristian Winfield of the NY Daily News was told his future in New York could be in question:
The source told the Daily News that the Knicks are interested in packaging rising star RJ Barrett in a deal for a star guard, like Portlandâ€™s Damian Lillard or Washingtonâ€™s Bradley Beal. If both the Trail Blazers and Wizards are uninterested in a deal, the source says the Knicks are also monitoring Clevelandâ€™s Collin Sexton, Oklahoma Cityâ€™s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Charlotteâ€™s Terry Rozier as younger guards the franchise can fold into its plans for the future.
The New York Knicks should do the exact opposite of what this report indicates:
There is no need for the Knicks to part ways with significant assets this off-season in hopes of landing a star point guard, as they can simply use their salary space to get the job done alternatively.
The Knicks have approximately $50+ million available in funds to allocate toward the PG position if they see fit, so sending one of the brightest young players on his way could be categorized as malpractice.
Letâ€™s get one thing straight, parting ways with Barrett would be a massive mistake, but he would be a small piece in what would evidently be major mismanagement of value. Not only will they have to transfer one of their best players on his rookie deal outward, but his departure wouldn’t even scratch the surface of the additional assets included (multiple first-round picks and likely other quality talents).
Of course, the concept of adding an elite PG is enticing, but not at the cost of risking the organization’s future. If the Knicks acquired Lillard, for example, they would only have about $15 million remaining to allocate toward complementary pieces. Simply put, this would be one of the worst moves the Knicks could make, and hopefully, management is thinking differently than this report indicates.