Report: RJ Barrett not included in Knicks potential Donovan Mitchell package

Alder Almo
Donovan Mitchell, Knicks
Mar 20, 2022; New York, New York, USA; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) and New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

There is a great chance that the New York Knicks can pull off a blockbuster trade for three-time All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell without losing RJ Barrett.

But it doesn’t mean that the price isn’t steep.

The Jazz reportedly asked for a historic haul — a combination of the Knicks’ other young pieces, the majority of the eight first-round picks that New York can trade and pick swaps.



With their eyes reportedly set on Quentin Grimes, “the Jazz asked for some combination of youngsters Grimes, Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, Miles McBride, and Cam Reddish,” according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

While over two dozen executives polled by Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer in the Las Vegas Summer League resulted in Barrett as a better trade chip than Miami Heat’s Tyler Herro, one member of the Jazz organization reportedly prefers the reigning Sixth Man of the Year as a return for Mitchell.

Some believed a deal could have been completed as early as last Tuesday, but the Knicks have been haggling, wary of gutting out their young core and coughing up more draft capital. They reportedly made a significant counter-offer “that included a smaller number of those [trade] pieces.”

On top of the combination of the young players, one of the veterans left on the Knicks roster must also be included to match Mitchell’s $30.3 million salary for next season.

The Jazz are reportedly not interested in Julius Randle, meaning Evan Fournier or Derrick Rose would be included to complete the deal.

It is just a matter of who blinks first in this high-stakes stare-down, as the expectation around the league is that the Knicks and Jazz will reach a compromise at some point.

The likelihood of the Knicks pulling off the trade increased after the Indiana Pacers tendered a maximum offer sheet to Phoenix Suns’ restricted free-agent center DeAndre Ayton.

Ayton will no longer be eligible to be sign-and-traded once he signs the offer sheet with Indiana. If Phoenix matches, Ayton will have veto power on any trade, and he will only be trade-eligible by Jan. 15 and cannot be shipped to Indiana for a year.

The wild four-team trade scenario that could land Mitchell in Brooklyn as part of a mega-blockbuster trade centered on Kevin Durant going to Phoenix with Myles Turner and Ben Simmons heading to Utah is now tougher to pull off without Ayton.

Unless the Heat can rope in a third team to supply the historic haul of draft picks that the Jazz covet, the Knicks can leverage that they are the only team capable of meeting Utah’s demands.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo