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RJ Barrett extension goes a long way for Knicks, fans

There’s a lot to be excited about about the four-year, $120 million contract extension the Knicks and RJ Barrett are nearing an agreement on.

Of course, there is Barrett himself. A few months ago, when the Nicks-Jazz dance over Donovan Mitchell began, I wrote in a column that if I had to sacrifice Barrett to Nick Mitchell, I would have to. Proposed. – A pick hole that Danny Ainge would look for.

And… well, put it this way: If I had suggested that the Yankees should abandon Aaron Judge, I’m not sure the backlash would have been so visceral. Trade Bullet? Knicks fans were ready to lie down on the runway once they got Barrett on a plane to Salt Lake City. I didn’t like it either.

So there it is. And it matters.

So is this: Barrett clearly wants to be here. Now, $30 million a year isn’t exactly minimum wage, but the Knicks could have added another year and $73 million to sweeten the deal, but they didn’t. He’s poised to sign on for four years. When your best players show such an affinity for their situation, it’s a great sign.

Nicks clearly wants Barrett. I still believe I can get Mitchell to a deal without including it. And by signing him, they even remove that chit as an option, at least for now. So far so good for the Knicks.

There is so much to be excited about. Barrett said he was the 3rd overall pick in the 2019 draft. Zion, if not for his Williamson off-court frenzy or his Morant on-court talent, is embracing his reputation as one of the bluest blues in the NBA. . collar worker.

04/06/22 - New York Knicks' RJ Barrett #9 drives to basket
RJ Barrett’s contract extension with the Knicks is nothing short of good for both sides.
New York Post’s Jason Senes

“Some people work hard knowing someone is watching,” Tom Thibodeau said last winter. “RJ loves basketball because it’s who he is and wants to get better, so he’s working hard. And we’ll see what the outcome is.”

Barrett improved significantly in both his second and third years. It’s hard for him to know exactly his limits as a player, but I’m sure he’ll hit it and try to recalibrate. I’m afraid he’s still a bit of a tweener. He’s comfortable taking his 3s, but could be a streak shooter (in fact, from his second year over his third year arc he’s 40.1 % he dropped to 34.2%.

But it’s not hard to believe that he spent every day of the summer firing hundreds of rounds a day. That’s exactly who he is. That’s what makes him a smart player trying to build something. There is no question that he cares. If that seems like a modest standard, well… let’s look at the NBA.

“Honestly, it’s good that a lot of my numbers are up this year,” Barrett said in February. , it means nothing.I play this game to win, to win a championship.That’s all that matters.”

Of course, the next step is the more difficult one. Barrett is still 22, and as a 22-year-old he plans to play for a year (unless the Knicks make it to the Finals). It is worth noting that he is really young. But at some point they are just numbers on a birth certificate. At some point, probably soon, Barrett will no longer be rated to his specifications. He is now a $30 million a year player. He is no longer a futures stock.

Well, that shouldn’t bother Barrett. But he committed to Knicks, Knicks committed to him, and the 22-year-old became the most popular Nick. all good. All could be great. Really, it’s all up to RJ Barrett now.

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