Donovan Mitchell trade rumors: RJ Barrett extension put nail in coffin for Knicks trade

The Knicks made an unlikely trade for Donovan Mitchell even harder to accomplish with an RJ Barrett contract extension

The momentum on a New York Knicks, Utah Jazz trade centered on Donovan Mitchell seemed to be gaining speed, but it derailed when New York signed RJ Barrett to a contract extension on Monday.

The two sides had been talking about Mitchell for months — talks that at one point stopped and re-opened — but it seems as though the Knicks grew impatient and felt they needed to make a move to solidify their future with or without Utah’s help.

RJ Barrett New York Knicks contract extension details, what is the poison pill?

RJ Barrett’s extension with the Knicks is for four years, $120 million according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Barrett, who was drafted in the 2019 NBA Draft, has averaged 17.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists so far in his NBA career, shooting 41.8 percent from the field.

Barrett’s deal includes a poison pill provision which requires any team acquiring him to account for his salary and a much higher level than is accounted for on the outgoing (Knicks) end. According to Woj, the outgoing for the Knicks would be $10.9 million, while the Jazz, if they were to acquire Barrett, would account for it at $26.2 million. That provision is in place for the duration of the league year, which ends on June 30th.

RJ Barrett contract extension is a hurdle for trade talks around Donovan Mitchell

According to Wojnarowski’s report on Barrett’s extension, a Mitchell trade is a longshot, to say the least, since Barrett was central to the trade talks:

“Once the Knicks committed to Barrett’s extension, management became resigned to the fact that there’s a much more difficult path to an offseason deal to acquire Mitchell. Nevertheless, neither Utah nor New York is ruling out restarting the talks before the start of training camps in late September, sources said.”

It’s no surprise, given the poison pill provision. Team executive Danny Ainge has been reportedly bullish on wanting plenty of draft picks as well as guard Quentin Grimes. The Knicks are reluctant to relinquish as many picks as the Jazz want and seem to have accepted that the priorities for a deal are too far apart.

This is just one of many restrictions that make it hard for teams to deal for Mitchell across the league.

The Jazz notoriously blew up the trade market this offseason when they got a king’s ransom back for center Rudy Gobert when they traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier this summer. This shifted the entire trade market for buyers and sellers, and Utah’s perception of what’s possible in the market is perhaps the most twisted.

At this point, it seems likely that Donovan Mitchell starts the year on the Jazz as teams drop like flies on the discussion.