RJ Barrett

Reddish Trade Notes: Other Offers, Details, Grades, More

The Hawks traded Cam Reddish, Solomon Hill and 2025 second-round pick to the Knicks in exchange for Kevin Knox and a protected first-round pick on Thursday. According to Ian Begley of SNY.tv, the Hawks were interested in acquiring Quentin Grimes, but the Knicks were reluctant to part with the rookie, who was the 25th overall pick of the 2021 draft.

The Knicks are likely to explore other trades ahead of the deadline and are known to be interested in Myles Turner and Jalen Brunson, Begley reports. He mentions that any player on New York’s roster could be on the table for the right return, pointing to Alec Burks and Mitchell Robinson as players who could draw interest, but the Knicks would likely want a top-end starter in return for Burks and/or Robinson.

Teams pursuing Reddish believed he could command a salary in the range of $18-20MM per year on his next contract, whether it be this summer in an extension or as a restricted free agent in the summer of 2023, so Begley thinks the Knicks must be open to that figure, unless they plan to trade him again in the future.

Here’s more on the trade between Atlanta and New York:

  • Atlanta had been seeking a first-round pick for Reddish for several months and never wavered in its asking price, write Fred Katz and Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. The Pacers, Cavaliers, Pistons, and Lakers were among the teams interested in Reddish, with L.A. recently offering two second-round picks for the third-year wing.
  • Reddish requested a trade from Atlanta months ago, which led to awkwardness in the team’s locker room, and it was inevitable he would be dealt once a team met Atlanta’s asking price, according to Katz and Kirschner. Reddish was reportedly unhappy with his role as a spot-up shooter and desired more play-making opportunities, which is questionable given he has more turnovers than assists in his career. It’s unclear how he’ll fit in with the Knicks, who have a crowded rotation when healthy, meaning finding more minutes than Reddish was getting in Atlanta (23.4 MPG) could be a challenge. Katz and Kirschner believe the first-round pick Atlanta acquired could be used in a subsequent trade, perhaps for Ben Simmons or Jerami Grant.
  • Zach Harper of The Athletic and Kevin Pelton of ESPN (Insider link) provide their grades for the trade. They both liked it more for the Knicks than the Hawks.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic thinks that the trade is in the eye of the beholder, because while Reddish has the size and talent to be a good NBA player, the idea of him has been better than his actual play to this point in his career. The winner of the deal will ultimately depend on how Reddish develops, Hollinger notes. He adds that Hawks were -10.0 points per 100 possessions with Reddish on the court, compared to +5.7 per 100 when he was off.
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks (video link) provides his thoughts on the deal, essentially saying it’s a low-risk, potentially high-reward for the Knicks, but the Hawks got fair value for Reddish too.
  • Sources tell Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link) that Reddish and RJ Barrett didn’t get along well at Duke, and some in the Knicks’ front office wanted to trade back to draft Reddish in 2019.

Knicks Notes: Randle, Toppin, Fournier, Trade Deadline, Barrett

After a slow start to the season, Knicks All-Star forward Julius Randle says he’s not concerned with the reactions from the media or fans, writes Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.

I really don’t give a f— what anybody has to say, to be honest,” Randle said Wednesday. “I’m out there playing. Nobody knows the game out there better than I do, compared to what everybody has to say. So I really don’t give a s—. I just go out there and play.”

Randle scored 30 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and dished out four assists in New York’s 104-94 victory over Indiana on Tuesday, his first game back after contracting COVID-19. His season averages of 19.6 PPG, 10.1 RPG, and 4.9 APG on .423/.327/.767 shooting are down from last season’s All-Star campaign, when he averaged 24.1 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 6.0 APG on .456/.411/.811 shooting.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • In a member-only article for the New York Post, Marc Berman spoke to NBA experts to explore what has been hindering Obi Toppin‘s three-point shot. The second-year forward has carved out a rotational role off the bench this season, but is shooting just 21.1% from deep on 1.7 attempts per game.
  • Free agent addition Evan Fournier had been struggling of late, but coach Tom Thibodeau didn’t consider sending him to the bench, according to Mark W. Sanchez of the New York Post. “Not really,” Thibodeau said Wednesday, when asked if he had considered trying Fournier with the second unit. Never known for his defense, Fournier was shooting a career-low 40.3% from the field through 37 games this season, all starts. “Even when he’s not shooting, he spaces the floor for us, so I do like that aspect,” Thobodeau said. “The one thing [is] about trying to get our second unit to stay intact as much as we can. Those guys have played really well together for a while now.” Fournier justified Thibodeau’s faith by erupting for 41 points against Boston on Thursday.
  • Thibodeau was a driving force behind the team signing Fournier in the offseason, sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who explores moves the Knicks might consider making at the trade deadline. Fischer notes that the Knicks have had internal discussions about acquiring Ben Simmons, but they’ve never called the Sixers with any type of deal structure, according to league sources. Fischer also writes that freeing a roster spot by becoming involved in the Rajon Rondo trade gives New York added flexibility ahead of the deadline.
  • In order for the Knicks to become a legitimate title contender, the team needs 21-year-old RJ Barrett to develop into a star, Ian O’Connor of the New York Post opines. Like Randle, Barrett had a strong performance on Tuesday, scoring 32 points, but his shooting percentages are down this season compared to last. Barrett banked in a game-winning three at the buzzer to beat the Celtics 108-105 on Thursday night.

Knicks Notes: Walker, McBride, Rose, Barrett, Toppin

Reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week Kemba Walker‘s banishment from the Knicks‘ rotation may have been a blessing in disguise, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic. Walker admits he wasn’t aggressive enough at times to start the season.

I just have a tendency of kind of not wanting to step on toes,” Walker said. “I think that’s what I did early on. I was here and I wasn’t being as aggressive, I think, as I could have been. But I think being out and seeing how the game has been flowing and going put me in a different mindset.”

Walker and the rest of the team’s starters struggled mightily in Wednesday’s 94-85 victory over the depleted Pistons, as the Knicks were carried once again by the bench group, all of whom finished with a plus/minus of at least plus-27. Walker had two points, two rebounds, two assists and three turnovers in 20 minutes.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Prior to Wednesday’s game, Marc Berman of The New York Post suggested that rookie Miles McBride may face a diminished role, given Walker’s strong recent play. However, that wasn’t the case against Detroit — in his first game back from the COVID-19 protocols, McBride logged 25 minutes in the team’s victory, leading the team in plus/minus at plus-39 while Walker struggled.
  • Head coach Tom Thibodeau says Derrick Rose is recovering well from ankle surgery and that he’s confident in the Knicks’ guard play, Berman writes in another article for The New York Post.
  • RJ Barrett is trying to regain his shooting stroke after a bout with COVID-19, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Barrett is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason, and how he finishes the rest of the season could have a major impact on the size of his contract, Bondy opines.
  • It’s clear the Knicks need to give Obi Toppin a lot more minutes than he has received so far this season, even if those minutes eat into Julius Randle‘s playing time, Ian O’Connor of The New York Post contends. In Wednesday’s win over Detroit, Toppin was an incredible plus-36 in 22 minutes, while Randle was a minus-27 in 26 minutes.

D’Angelo Russell, Three Blazers Enter Protocols

Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell has joined the growing list of Minnesota players in the health and safety protocols, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

The Timberwolves now have eight players affected, including stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. They’ve already signed a pair of replacement players – Chris Silva and Rayjon Tucker – using hardship exceptions, but will likely make at least one more roster addition before their next game on Monday.

Here are more COVID-19 protocol updates from around the NBA:

  • Three Trail Blazers players – Robert Covington, Ben McLemore, and Keljin Blevins – have entered the health and safety protocols, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). That brings Portland’s total count to five affected players, all of whom have been placed in the protocols in the last two days.
  • Kevin Knox has exited the protocols, but Jericho Sims has entered, so the Knicks still have three players affected, according to the team (Twitter links). RJ Barrett is back in the starting lineup for New York today and Quentin Grimes is also expected to play, but Immanuel Quickley and Knox will need a little more time to ramp up their conditioning, says Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Mavericks wing Josh Green has tested out of the protocols, but didn’t travel with the team to Utah and won’t play tonight, tweets ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Exits Protocols, Expected To Play Saturday

DECEMBER 25, 8:53am: Antetokounmpo is expected to return to action for the Bucks on Saturday after missing the team’s last five games, Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter).

DECEMBER 24, 12:17pm: Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols, sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

According to Lowe and Wojnarowski, Antetokounmpo is expected to get on the court today and make a decision tomorrow about whether he’ll be able to suit up for the Bucks in their Christmas Day game vs. Boston. The two-time MVP will have to pass cardiac tests before he’s cleared to return following his stint in the health and safety protocols.

Although Giannis still has a chance to play on Saturday, it appears the same can’t be said for Hawks star Trae Young. League sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) that Young isn’t expected to be cleared in time to be activated for Atlanta’s Christmas Day contest in New York.

It’s an unfortunate turn of events, given the burgeoning rivalry that Young and the Hawks have established with the Knicks and the fans in New York. However, it doesn’t come as a surprise — Young just entered the COVID-19 protocols five days ago, so the odds of him testing out this quickly were low unless his initial test was a false positive.

In addition to not having to face Young on Saturday, the Knicks also may get some additional reinforcements, as guard Immanuel Quickley has exited the protocols, per the team (Twitter link). New York now has just three players still in the protocolsKevin Knox, Nerlens Noel, and Miles McBride.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau did caution today that Quickley may not be ready to play on Christmas, but said RJ Barrett, who also exited the protocols this week, has a better chance to be active (Twitter link via Tim Bontemps of ESPN).

Eastern Notes: Barrett, Cousins, Fall, Wizards

RJ Barrett has exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Knicks announced today (via Twitter). The news comes on the heels of Obi Toppin clearing the protocols on Wednesday night, a sign that the team is hopefully getting through the worst of its COVID-19 outbreak.

Assuming Barrett and Toppin pass the necessary cardiac tests, they could be back in the lineup as soon as tonight vs. Washington or Saturday vs. Atlanta. Five Knicks remain in the protocols for the time being, as our tracker shows.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Earlier this week, Bucks center DeMarcus Cousins admitted he was still struggling to find his rhythm while getting “limited practice time (and) limited preparation” between games, as Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. Cousins, who signed with Milwaukee last month, logged a season-high 28 minutes on Wednesday and had his best game of the year, putting up 18 points and eight assists in a win over Houston.
  • Like Cousins in Milwaukee, Cavaliers center Tacko Fall has taken on a larger role this week due to various absences. Kelsey Russo of The Athletic takes a look at the unusual journey Fall took leading up to his first NBA start on Wednesday. Playing in Boston, where he began his NBA career, the 7’5″ center had four points and 10 rebounds in 19 minutes.
  • Trade talks across the NBA have been put on the back burner for now as teams focus on dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks and signing replacement players. However, those discussions figure to heat up in the coming weeks, prompting Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington to take an early look at potential trade deadline priorities for the Wizards. The team could use more shooting, more size, and a speedy point guard, says Hughes.

Knicks Notes: Duarte, Toppin, Barrett, Walker

The Knicks passed on a chance to give Chris Duarte a guarantee in this year’s draft, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. A source tells Berman that Duarte’s representatives were seeking a promise from New York before Duarte conducted any personal workouts that he would be selected with the 19th pick. The Knicks declined, so Duarte proceeded with his workout schedule and was eventually taken at No. 13 by the Pacers.

Duarte has been one of this season’s top rookies, becoming a starter in Indiana and averaging 13.3 points per game. At 24, he was the oldest prospect in the draft and may have fallen a few more spots without the workouts. Duarte was born in the Dominican Republic, and people close to him say he was interested in playing in New York because of the city’s significant Dominican population, Berman writes.

Duarte was held 0ut of the draft combine and didn’t begin his workouts until late in the process. A source tells Berman that the Pacers were sold on Duarte after watching him work out alongside Corey Kispert, Cameron Thomas and Ziaire Williams.

There’s more from New York:

  • Obi Toppin has been much better in his second season, including a 19-point, 10-rebound performance Friday, but coach Tom Thibodeau isn’t thinking about putting him in the starting lineup, Berman states in a separate story. Any move with Toppin would be on hold now that he’s in the league’s health and safety protocols, and Thibodeau wants to keep the starting unit stable for a while after recently inserting Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel. Asked about a potential pairing of Toppin and Julius Randle, Thibodeau responded, “(It’s) very good offensively. Defensively, we lose the rim protection and rebounding. You’re sacrificing that part of the game which is critical. But I like the speed and the way they are playing.’’
  • A rookie-scale extension for RJ Barrett next summer has gotten less likely since the season began, says Fred Katz of The Athletic. Barrett’s inconsistent play might make the front office think it’s safer to negotiate with him as a restricted free agent in 2023 than to give him a big-money deal after this season.
  • Kemba Walker‘s benching could lead to his second buyout in less than a year, Katz adds. He doesn’t believe the Knicks would attach an asset to Walker to get another team to take him and it’s hard to envision Walker, who is under contract through next season, accepting a permanent role on the bench if that’s what it becomes.

RJ Barrett In Health And Safety Protocols

RJ Barrett has entered the league’s health and safety protocols, the Knicks announced (via Twitter). He will miss today’s game against the Bucks and maybe several more. He joins teammate Obi Toppin, who was placed in the protocols on Saturday.

As with Toppin, there is no word on whether Barrett tested positive for COVID-19 or has just been in contact with someone who has the virus. If he is positive, Barrett will be sidelined for a minimum of 10 days unless he returns two consecutive negative tests more than 24 hours apart.

The third-year swingman is averaging 15.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists through 25 games. Losing Barrett and Toppin will be the latest obstacle for a Knicks team that is off to a disappointing 12-14 start after finishing fourth in the East last season.

New York Notes: Durant, Harden, Turner, Barrett

The Nets are resting Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge for tonight’s game in Houston, tweets Mark Medina of NBA.com. Durant played more than 40 minutes in Tuesday’s win at Dallas, and Brooklyn is being careful not to overextend Aldridge, who briefly retired at the end of last season due to a heart condition.

There have been concerns about the heavy minutes that Durant and James Harden have seen this season with the loss of Kyrie Irving and injuries to other rotation players. Harden said Tuesday that neither of them minds the increased workload, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“One thing about me and KD, we love to play basketball,” Harden said. “So it don’t matter. We could play the whole 48. Even if we’re exhausted. Coach says something — nope. We wanna stay in the game. We wanna play.”

There’s more from New York City:

  • Harden received a mostly positive reaction when he was introduced tonight in Houston, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Harden, who played more than eight seasons with the Rockets before forcing his way out in January, returned to Houston for a game last season, but the crowd was limited because of COVID-19 restrictions. “I think it definitely means something to James,” Nets coach Steve Nash said. “I don’t want to overstate it, but I also don’t want to understate it. He had such a historic run here. This city means a ton to him.”
  • A report that the Pacers are exploring trades involving Myles Turner could be significant to the Knicks, who checked on Turner’s availability during the offseason, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Those talks didn’t go very far, Begley adds, but New York’s front office remains interested in finding a center who can stretch the floor. The Knicks have multiple ways to match Turner’s $17.5MM salary, Begley notes, and Mitchell Robinson, Nerlens Noel or Taj Gibson would likely be included in any deal.
  • Tom Thibodeau’s search for lineup solutions will be much easier if RJ Barrett continues to shoot the way he did in Tuesday’s win over the Spurs, per Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post. Barrett broke out of a 13-game shooting slump with a 32-point night while going 7-of-8 from beyond the arc. “I was down for a couple of weeks, but I’m feeling better now,” Barrett said. “It was good to get back in the gym, it was great and to have a game like today. Hopefully that can carry on for (Wednesday).”

Atlantic Notes: Siakam, Sixers, Barrett, Thibs

Raptors forward Pascal Siakam continues to struggle through foul trouble, writes Dave Feschuk of The Toronto Star. As NBA referees across the league strive to limit calling fouls against “non-basketball” offensive flop plays, looks at the charity stripe in general are taking a significant dive. Siakam, however, continues to be whistled for fouls. The 2020 All-Star has averaged a career-worst 3.5 fouls per contest across 12 games this season and has already fouled out of two games.

“We can’t go through this (foul trouble) every night like this,”  Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said of Siakam. “It seems to me he’s just getting himself just a half-count late on some stuff.”

Siakam himself appears to be trying to be more sensitive to fouls called against him as the year progresses for the 10-13 Raptors. “If I’m going to have a foul I would rather it be an actual foul preventing someone from scoring or a foul I actually want to give,” Siakam noted. “Just staying away from the cheap ones and hopefully the gods will be on my side one of these days and I won’t foul out.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Determining a reasonable expectation for this strange Sixers season is proving difficult, opines Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The team has been felled by various injuries, extended COVID-19 absences, and of course the continuing Ben Simmons drama. Philadelphia is currently 12-11, good for the ninth seed in the East.
  • Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau sounded optimistic when addressing the recent shooting slump of RJ Barrett, per Ian Begley and Phillip Martinez of SNY.tv“I have a lot of confidence in [Barrett] being able to work his way out of it,” Thibodeau said after Saturday’s game. “When you throw in he’s been sick, and to me you get rhythm when you work. Last year, he got going when he started coming in every night to shoot. So there’s no notion that you (work on your shot in the gym at night) sometimes, you got to do it all the time. So get back in the gym, get back to grooving your shot. Shoot a lot of threes and you’ll start making more.” The 21-year-old Barrett is connecting on just 39.6% of his field goal attempts in his third NBA season.
  • Thibodeau has opted to give the slumping Knicks, losers of three straight, a day off to regroup, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. “[Who] we are as a team, how we built this team and this culture is just fighting defensively, the togetherness, just the effort, the hustle plays,” reflected New York forward Julius Randle of the club’s ethos. “And I think sometimes, we’re too lax. We might think the little details don’t matter sometimes or whatever it is, but we’ve just got to understand to get out of this we’ve got to do it together.” The Knicks are currently 11-12 on the young 2021/22 season.