RJ Barrett is the biggest bright spot from an otherwise depressing New York Knicks season. His emergence as a potential star is the biggest reason to believe in the Knicks as a future contender. However, Barrett’s recent rise is putting him in an interesting conversation.
Bleacher Report is listing Barrett as one of the most tradeable young players in the NBA. The 21-year-old is joined by Deandre Ayton, Tyler Herro, Jonathan Kuminga, and Patrick Williams.
“He’s their most valuable trade piece,” Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News said on the HoopsHype Podcast per Bleacher Report. “If they are going to go after Donovan Mitchell or whoever, he would be their most enticing piece.”
There is no disputing the fact that Barrett is the Knick with the highest trade value. He’s putting up 25.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game in 20 games after the All-Star break. The efficiency could be better, but Barrett is overcoming pedestrian shooting numbers by going to the free-throw line 8.4 times per game during that stretch.
Did we mention that he’s still just 21 years old?
If the Knicks trade Barrett this offseason, they are going all-in on a pairing of (insert star here) and Julius Randle. Given Randle’s exhausting 2021-22 season, this would be a risky move.
The Knicks might be able to flip RJ for a star this offseason, but The safer play would be to stick with Barrett and build a roster that can accentuate his strengths. If the 21-year-old can develop into an All-Star, it makes the Knicks an intriguing landing spot for a disgruntled star.
The NBA is all about player empowerment, right? Who’s to say one of these stars won’t follow in the footsteps of Anthony Davis by demanding a specific landing spot?
Even though the NBA media establishment is always searching for the next disgruntled star, it’s tough to play these hypothetical games. Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, and Zion Williamson are all names floating around the blogosphere.
Occasionally, someone comes out of nowhere to request a trade like Kawhi Leonard or Paul George. Developing Barrett into a bonafide star is the smartest way for the Knicks to build a contender.
Sure, RJ Barrett is the Knick with the highest trade value, but that doesn’t mean they should be looking to trade him away.