The New York Knicks have signed guard/forward RJ Barrett to a contract extension.
Per the New York Post, “while his new contract extension is a less-than-the-maximum extension afforded to studs like Ja Morant, it still will pay him $108 million guaranteed over four years ($120 million if he reaches incentives such as All-Star/All-NBA/All-Defense selections). He stands to make $28 million in 2023-24 after his rookie deal ends after the upcoming season.”
Per the New York Daily News, “Barrett’s extension includes a “poison pill” provision, which is in place until next summer and makes it difficult to match salaries. According to ESPN, Knicks president Leon Rose set a Monday deadline of completing a deal for [Donovan] Mitchell before extending Barrett.”
“We are thrilled to announce a well-deserved extension for RJ Barrett, a core piece of our team’s foundation,” said Knicks president Leon Rose. “At only 22 years old, he has elevated his game each season, solidifying himself as a force on both ends of the court. We believe he will continue to improve because of his passion for the game and dedication to his craft. We want to continue to build our team and culture around players like RJ who possess these values and qualities.”
Barrett, 6-6, 226-pounds, is coming off a career year, in which he averaged 20 points, 5.8 rebounds and three assists over 34.5 minutes in 70 games (all starts) last season. He holds career averages of 17.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists over 33.5 minutes in 198 games (197 starts) over three seasons with New York. He is one of only five players in NBA history to eclipse 3,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 200 three-pointers before turning 22 years old, joining Kobe Bryant, Luka Doncic, Kevin Durant and LeBron James.
Last season, RJ became the youngest player in franchise history to average at least 20 points for a season. His scoring average ranked second on the team (Julius Randle, 20.1 points), third among players 21 years or younger and 27th in the NBA. On Feb. 25, 2022, Barrett recorded a career-high 46 points against Miami, becoming the second player in franchise history to score 45 or more points at the age of 21 or younger (Carl Braun, 47 points, 1947).
The Toronto, Ontario-native, has increased his points per game production from 14.3 to 17.6 to 20.0 points over his three NBA seasons. He helped lead the Knicks to a 41-31 (.569) record in 2020-21, earning the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, the most wins by a Knicks team since 2012-13, and first trip to the postseason since that season.
He was originally selected by New York third overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, following one season at Duke University. He started all 38 games, averaging an ACC and team high 22.6 points to go along with 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists over 35.3 minutes en route to being awarded Consensus All-America First Team honors and 2018-19 National Player of the Year by USA Today. He set an ACC freshman record with 26 20-point games. The Jerry West Award winner, given annually to the nation’s best shooting guard, broke the ACC freshman scoring record, previously held by Georgia Tech’s Kenny Anderson (721) in 1989-90.
Image Source: Ron Adar / Shutterstock