Knicks ‘hopeful’ about Donovan Mitchell trade after RJ Barrett contract


Obi Toppin was scheduled to throw the first pitch Tuesday at Citi Field as part of “Knicks Night” when the Dodgers take on the Mets.

With Donovan Mitchell’s trade talks not complete despite RJ Barrett’s looming contract extension, Toppin could soon be in line to throw out the first pitch for the Salt Lake Bees – the Dodgers’ Triple A affiliate.


According to a source, the Knicks hope to be able to reach a deal with Mitchell without Barrett. The source says the Knicks wouldn’t have come to this Barrett move if they thought it would kill the trade.

Jazz president Danny Ainge likes Barrett, but he prioritized securing four unprotected first-round picks for three-time All-Star Mitchell.

That might not be possible unless a third team such as the Lakers is added to jump-start talks. According to a source, the Lakers are open to talks and are still interested in forward Cam Reddish.

Ainge reportedly has his sights set on the Lakers’ picks in 2027 and 2029. Knicks president Leon Rose has yet to offer more than two unprotected first-round picks, as well as three conditional picks, which aren’t as attractive to Ainge, as The Post first reported.

The Knicks keep “the hope” of being able to conclude an exchange with the Jazz for Donovan Mitchell (45).

If Rose pulls off the Barrett-Mitchell exacta, he would have completed his offseason plan that aimed to right all the wrongs of the summer of 2021 as a free agent.

On draft night, Rose sacrificed his lottery pick at No. 11 to free up space for point guard Jalen Brunson while adding additional draft capital for a Mitchell-type deal.

Additionally, Rose locked up Barrett for significantly less than the maximum contract extension by agreeing to a four-year, $120 million package that includes incentives involving team wins, All-NBA, All-Star and All-Star selections. -Defensive Team.

The rookie-max for the 2019 class — after the last cap increase — was five years, $193 million, according to former Nets capologist and ESPN NBA financial expert Bobby Marks. Originally it was $185 million.

Marks told The Post Barrett he got a good deal because it’s comparable to the extension package signed by Boston’s Jaylen Brown, who was more accomplished as a winning player. Brown signed a four-year, $106 million extension two years ago.

The Knicks brass didn’t see Barrett as proven enough to be a max guy.

“Utah never wanted to be the team to pay (Barrett) – let New York overpay for a decent but not top notch player,” a coaching source said. “But Mitchell can end up in New York as soon as they reach an agreement on the number of No. 1 draft picks included.”

Toppin, shooting guard Quentin Grimes and contract Evan Fournier are the most likely trio in a deal with the picks.

Ainge would try to speed up discussions with other teams after Monday
Barrett’s announcement of the night by Agent Bill Duffy.

But many in the league believe Ainge won’t find a package for Mitchell, who removed the Jazz from his Twitter bio on Tuesday, just like the Knicks. That’s what Rose is betting on as he ties down Jazz’s prestigious frame in a high-stakes poker game.

Some in the league believe that if Rose is successful, it would be wise to move Julius Randle as well. However, if Toppin is in the business, it makes less sense.

The Knicks give RJ Barrett a four-year, $120 million contract extension.
The Knicks give RJ Barrett a four-year, $120 million contract extension.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

A foursome of Jalen Brunson, Mitchell, Barrett and Randle are wonderful on paper but defensively below par and could face chemistry issues as they each love basketball.

“The hardest part is leaving Randle,” the coach’s source said. “They might have to if you have Mitchell, Brunson and RJ.

“Randle can’t be the equal of Mitchell or RJ in terms of touches, shots. His game is that of a ball-dominating goalscorer who can pass willingly and make plays for his teammates, but only when he has them. He has become a teammate who is difficult to play with.

Still, it would be fascinating to watch it unfold, but the quartet also creates a dodgy long-term financial situation.

The quartet would take over $110 million of the $123 million cap for the 2023-24 season once Barrett’s contact extension goes into effect.

Randle owes $25 million, Brunson $26.3 million, Mitchell $32.6 million and Barrett about $27 million guaranteed for the first year.

That’s not a lot of trade flexibility, especially with no first-round picks to peddle. And that’s why Rose and Ainge couldn’t come to an agreement.