Report: Knicks, RJ Barrett finalizing extension worth up to $120M, marking shift in Donovan Mitchell pursuit

The New York Knicks and wing RJ Barrett are finalizing a four-year extension to his rookie contract that could be worth up to $120 million, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports, citing Barrett's agent Bill Duffy.

The Knicks have reportedly been in pursuit of Donovan Mitchell, but team president Leon Rose set a Monday deadline to trade for the Utah Jazz guard or sign Barrett to an extension, according to Wojnarowski. Per the report, the Knicks and Jazz failed to reach agreement on trade details in recent days and both sides declined to make further concessions.

The extension doesn't necessarily mean the end of a potential trade for Mitchell, but complicates it further because of the NBA's so-called "poison pill" provision. Per the report, if Barrett's traded before the extension takes effect next July, his outgoing salary will compute for the Knicks at $10.9 million — the value of the final season of his rookie contract. But any team trading for Barrett before July would take on $26.2 million against the salary cap.

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 08: RJ Barrett #9 of the New York Knicks in action against the Washington Wizards during the first half at Capital One Arena on April 08, 2022 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
RJ Barrett is closing in on a new contract extension with the Knicks. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) (Patrick Smith via Getty Images)

Both sides are still open to a deal that would include Barrett, per the report. But his extension effectively requires the Knicks and Jazz to start negotiations over if they choose to further pursue a trade. Barrett will sign the extension in his first offseason of eligibility to do so.

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Barrett, 22, is approaching the fourth season of a four-year, $35.6 million contract he signed as a rookie in 2019. The Knicks selected him with the No. 3 pick out of Duke in the 2019 draft. He's increased his output in each season since joining the NBA with scoring averages of 14.3 and 17.6 before he tallied 20 points, 5.8 rebounds and three assists per game last season.

While his overall output improved, his efficiency took a step back in 2021-22. After shooting 44.1% from the field and 40.1% from 3-point distance in 2020-21, he shot 40.8% from the field and 34.2% from 3-point distance last season.