Canadian RJ Barrett will be eligible from July 1 for an extension of his current contract rookie for five additional seasons and a total of 185 million dollars.
The one who was number 3 in the 2019 Draft is running as the Knicks’ next franchise player despite the fact that all the lights pointed in the direction of Julius Randle. Under Tom Thibodeau he has stepped up his game for two straight seasons, and there is no current promise that he does not deserve such confidence as this.
Last year he became the 15th player in history to average at least 20 points at age 21 or younger. Likewise, he captured 5.8 rebounds and distributed 3 assists in the 70 days that he was able to play after various problems due to COVID-19 and a subsequent ankle injury that kept him away from the parquet for several weeks.
“I was motivated to do these things and I am motivated to do a lot more,” Barrett said after the season finale. “I am happy with how my year has ended. There is room to improve. And then as far as the team, I just want to take this improvement next year to turn things around and get back to the playoffs,” he added.
The Knicks staged a rather irregular course where they were 11th in the East with a record of 37 wins and 45 losses. There were injuries, players who did not give what was expected, and resounding signings, such as Kemba or Fournier. But Leon Rose and his offices try to remedy it. At the moment they have released salaries to try to undertake the signing of Jalen Brunson in free agency. And if not, Tyus Jones or Malcolm Brogdon also sound via transfer.
Regarding Barrett, he has the total and absolute trust of the board, as well as his coach Thibodeau. He likes his character, his competitiveness, and his ability to recognize mistakes and learn from them. Likewise, there is his constant evolution since his arrival in 2019 after a very complicated year where he was left out of the Best Teams rookies.
- 2019-20: 14.3 points, 5 rebounds and 2.6 assists with 40% shooting from the field; 32% in triples and 61% in free throws.
- 2021-22: 20 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3 assists with 41% shooting from the field; 35% on triples and 72% on free throws.
“This is where I want to be. I love playing for the Knicks. I love playing at Madison Square Garden,” Barrett acknowledged. “I love how we made the playoffs last year and I want to do it again. And I love everything about being a Knick. Yes, one hundred percent. This is the place where I want to be », he concluded.
(Cover photo: Rich Graessle/Getty Images)