Is RJ Barrett Key To Knicks’ Donovan Mitchell Trade?

New York Knicks, Utah Jazz, Donovan Mitchell, RJ Barrett, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The New York Knicks and Utah Jazz re-engaged in trade talks centered around Donovan Mitchell last weekend. The teams hadn’t talked in a few weeks, as the NBA Summer League was reportedly the last time that the teams were in contact.

While sources were sure to indicate that there was still plenty of work to do on a deal, as there was no traction toward completion, it was an encouraging sign that they were back to the negotiating table. There has been a lot of smoke around a Mitchell deal getting done with the Knicks and it would almost be surprising at this point if something wasn’t completed.

The biggest hurdle in a deal of this magnitude is always figuring out what kind of compensation should be included. The Knicks have a lot of assets that they could build a trade package around and the Jazz want as many of them as possible.

When trade talks first began, there were some pieces and outlines of packages that were shared by people in the media. None of those packages included RJ Barrett, who is extension eligible this summer as he heads into his fourth season in the NBA.

However, that seems to have changed. According to Stephen A. Smith, the Jazz are now insisting on Barrett being included in any deal and still want almost all of the draft picks that New York is eligible to trade.

“Utah didn’t want Julius Randle, from what I’m told. They don’t want him. The Knicks were willing to unload him. They want RJ Barrett. They want at least 6 1st-round picks.”

It was originally reported that the Jazz didn’t want to acquire Barrett because they didn’t want to be the team that had to pay him. Negotiations are ongoing between him and his representation and the Knicks and the sides are confident they are going to be able to come to an agreement.

Barrett is also the one player it sounded like the Knicks were not making available in trade talks, which makes sense. He is their best chance of developing another star to hopefully turn things around and become a contending team.

If Utah is insisting that Barrett be involved in the deal, New York could very easily walk away again. No other team has the assets that the Knicks have so until an offer requires them to increase their trade package, Leon Rose will not budge off of what he is offering.

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