Most experts view Zion Williamson and Ja Morant as the top two prospects in the 2019 NBA draft, with R.J. Barrett right behind them, making Barrett a logical target for the Knicks at No. 3. However, while New York likes Barrett, the club isn’t locked in on selecting him yet, and is doing its due diligence on several options for that No. 3 overall pick, reports Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com (Insider link).
The Knicks have explored the possibility of trading back in the lottery to pick up an extra asset or two, according to Givony, who points to the Hawks‘ Nos. 8 and 10 picks as a potential match for New York. While one source tells Givony that a trade with Atlanta is one scenario the Knicks are mulling, Ian Begley of SNY.tv hears that such a deal isn’t under “serious consideration” by either club at this point.
Both Givony and Begley point out that the Knicks are fans of other prospects who should be available at No. 3 and could slip further down the top 10. Givony identifies Cam Reddish, Jarrett Culver, Coby White, and Nassir Little as players who are getting a close look from New York, while Begley singles out Reddish and Culver as well. Culver is scheduled to work out for the Knicks on June 5 and Reddish will also have a pre-draft visit with the team.
Still, assuming the Knicks stay in the No. 3 spot, Barrett looks like the odds-on favorite to be their man. He has significant support within the organization and will work out for New York before the draft, says Begley. That workout will take place on June 10, per Givony, who adds that Barrett “would be excited” about becoming a Knick.
Of course, before the Knicks get a shot at Barrett, he’ll have to make it past the Grizzlies at No. 2. Givony, who reported shortly after the lottery that Memphis had zeroed in on Morant, suggests that the team has been sending out mixed messages as of late.
The Grizzlies’ ownership group is still telling people around the league that Morant is their guy, but the front office wants to bring in Barrett for a private workout, according to Givony. Sources tell ESPN that Barrett has declined that request for now, though he’ll have time to reconsider it before the draft.