Knicks sign RJ Barrett to huge contract extension

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.

Trade sends Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel from Knicks to Pistons

The Detroit Pistons have acquired Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, a 2023 second-round draft pick, originally belonging to Detroit, a 2026 second-round draft pick, via Minnesota or New York, dependent on draft position, and cash considerations in a trade with the New York Knicks for the draft rights to Nikola Radicevic and a protected second-round pick in 2025.

Burks, 6-6, 214, recorded clips of 11.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steals in 28.6 minutes through 81 games (44 starts) with the Knicks in 2021-22. He scored at least 20 points in nine contests, including a season-best 34 points against the Pistons on Dec. 29, 2021. Burks had 43 games with multiple 3-pointers and made at least four triples 14 times a year ago.

The Grandview, Mo. native has 11 years of NBA experience after he was drafted 12th overall by the Utah Jazz in the 2011 NBA Draft. Burks has suited up for the Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers, Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Knicks with career marks of 10.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.7 steals in 625 NBA games (135 starts).

A former standout at Colorado, Burks played two seasons collegiately for the Buffaloes while garnering Big 12 Rookie of the Year honors and All-Big 12 First Team honors as a sophomore.

Noel, 6-11, 220, tallied 3.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks in 22.5 minutes over 25 games (11 starts) with the Knicks last season. He pulled down double-digit rebounds twice and had multiple blocks in nine games in 2021-22. Noel spent two seasons with New York, appearing in 89 games (52 starts) since 2020-21.

The former sixth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Noel has played eight seasons in the league for the Philadelphia 76ers, Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder and Knicks. He was named to the 2014-15 All-Rookie First Team and has ranked in the top-15 in the NBA in steals twice and blocks three times, including ranking third (2.2 bpg) in 2020-21.

Hailing from Malden, Mass., Noel played collegiately for the Kentucky Wildcats in 2012-13. He was named to the All-SEC First Team and was selected to the SEC All-Defense and SEC All-Freshman teams. Noel also earned SEC Defensive Player of the Year and SEC Rookie of the Year in his lone season with the Wildcats.

Radicevic, 6-6, 200, was acquired by Detroit via trade from the Denver Nuggets on Nov. 22, 2020. He was drafted 57th overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Knicks trade Kemba Walker and Jalen Duren to Pistons

The Detroit Pistons have acquired the draft rights to Jalen Duren, the No. 13 selection in the 2022 NBA Draft, and Kemba Walker in a trade with the New York Knicks for a 2025 first-round draft pick via the Milwaukee Bucks.

Duren, 6-10, 250, averaged 12.0 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.8 steals and 2.1 blocks in 25.2 minutes over 29 games for Memphis in 2021-22. In his lone collegiate season, Duren was named American Athletic Conference (AAC) Freshman of the Year and was both an All-AAC First Team and All-Freshman Team selection. Duren was also a six-time AAC Freshman of the Week choice and earned All-AAC Tournament Team honors in postseason play.

The Philadelphia native led the AAC in rebounds and blocks last season, while leading Memphis in scoring on .597 shooting from the field. He recorded three games with at least 20 points and nine games with double-digit rebounds, including becoming the fourth freshman in the nation since 2010-11 to record at least 20 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks in a game.

Duren was the youngest player (18 years, 231 days) in the NBA Draft this year and played at Montverde Academy for his junior year in high school after competing for two seasons at Roman Catholic in Philadelphia.

Walker, 6-0, 184, tallied clips of 11.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 25.6 minutes over 37 games (all starts) for the New York Knicks last season. The four-time NBA All-Star holds career marks of 19.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.2 steals through 741 NBA games (696 starts) across 11 seasons with the Charlotte Hornets, Boston Celtics and the Knicks.

Mitchell Robinson playing well for Knicks this season

Here’s the New York Daily News with some positive words on Knicks center Mitchell Robinson:

Mitchell Robinson began this campaign still recovering from a fractured foot, having added too much weight during a longer-than-expected rehab. The Knicks passed on giving Robinson an extension in the offseason, instead handing $30 million to the other center — Nerlens Noel — who finished last season as the starter.

Robinson’s poor conditioning left him benched in early December, with Noel stepping back into the lineup.

Now?

Robinson is registering the best and most consistent basketball of his career, becoming a tour de force on the offensive glass as Noel devolved to unreliable. His strength and basketball IQ is finally catching up to his athleticism, and the development is reflected in his rebounding numbers: Robinson, 23, is second in the NBA in total offensive rebounds, behind only his opponent in Friday night’s game, Memphis’ Steven Adams. He’s shooting a ridiculous 77% from the field, with an equally ridiculous 42.5% of his field goals coming from putbacks off rebounds.

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Knicks rookie Quentin Grimes might return later this month

The 27-38 Knicks were getting 6.3 points in 17.4 minutes per game this season from rookie guard Quentin Grimes, and he could be back in action fairly soon. Via the New York Post:

The impressive rookie season for Quentin Grimes is not over.

And if there’s nothing else to take from this downbeat Knicks season, Grimes has flourished as a solid two-way shooting guard representing a piece for the future.

In the first game out of the All-Star break, on Feb. 25 versus Miami, Grimes’ knee buckled while he was moving through a screen, and was helped off by teammates.

No time table was set for his return after the Knicks announced a dislocated right knee, but Grimes is progressing quickly, is shooting and running, and likely will be cleared for his first contact practice Tuesday. Perhaps he will be back in 10 days or so.

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Knicks forward Julius Randle scores career-high 46 points

Knicks forward Julius Randle scores career-high 46 points in a big win over the Kings Monday that featured 83 NY points in the second half. Via the New York Post:

Julius Randle got fined by the NBA Sunday and then got even.

This time it was the Knicks’ turn to rally from a big deficit and capture a desperately needed victory.

Randle exploded for a career-high 46 points to lead a 44-point third-quarter barrage as the Knicks rallied from 19 points down in the first half to knock out the Kings, 131-115, in a Wild West shootout at Golden1 Center.

“When he plays with that type of intensity, it lifts everyone,’’ Tom Thibodeau said. “He was attacking the basket, shooting the 3, making hustle plays. It was a great all-around game from him.’’ …

The Knicks exploded for a 35-17 start to the second half to erase their 15-point halftime hole. They finished the half with 83 points, the most by a Knicks team after intermission since 1969.

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Knicks forward Julius Randle fined by NBA

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle has been fined $50,000 for initiating an on-court altercation by forcefully shoving Phoenix Suns forward Cam Johnson, making contact with a game official in his attempt to get at Johnson, and for his noncompliance with an NBA investigation, it was announced today by Byron Spruell, President, League Operations.

The incident, for which Johnson was assessed a technical foul and Randle was assessed two technical fouls and ejected, occurred with 2:40 remaining in the third quarter of the Suns’ 115-114 victory over the Knicks on Mar. 4 at Footprint Center in Phoenix.

No return date yet for Knicks guard Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose has barely been on the court for the New York Knicks this season, and it’s unclear when his availability will change. Via New York Newsday:

Derrick Rose appeared on the floor at the Knicks’ morning shootaround Friday, not in uniform and not ready to rejoin the team on the court. But the Knicks at least had him with them, helping to provide some measure of leadership as they struggle through a downward spiral.

Rose hasn’t played since Dec. 16. He had ankle surgery later in December and had a second procedure last week to deal with an infection at the site of the first surgery.

“He can’t really do much,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Just gotta be patient, let it clear up. That’s it.”

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