According to sources cited by Marc Berman of the New York Post, the New York Knicks would have wanted to wait until at least the middle of October to extend RJ Barrett‘s contract and would have been happy to wait until the beginning of the restricted free agency season on July 1.
After hearing that the Cavaliers were the frontrunners for Donovan Mitchell in a trade, the Knicks allegedly moved quickly to extend Barrett. When the Mitchell trade was made, the club had already confirmed Barrett’s contract.
The Knicks, according to Berman, were “shocked and disappointed” when they were unable to get Mitchell in a trade. Evidence also suggests the club was never given a fair opportunity to present its best offer before the Jazz agreed to the Cavs trade.
Knicks reportedly wanted to wait before tying Barrett down
“According to an NBA source, the Knicks’ would have preferred not to sign Barrett to a hefty contract extension at this moment. They wanted to at least wait until the mid-October deadline to see him at training camp — or even until July 1, when he would have hit restricted free agency.
“They didn’t want to pay RJ now, they like RJ, but he’s not one of their guys. The preference was to trade him in a Donovan deal. … If they got Donovan without Barrett in the deal, they weren’t going to pay RJ now.They had to do something,” the source said.