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RJ Barrett Is Still A Knick. Is That A Good Thing?

It’s amazing that he puts up with what he’s had to put up with.

New York Knicks v Washington Wizards
 WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 08: RJ Barrett #9 of the New York Knicks reacts against the Washington Wizards during the first half at Capital One Arena on April 08, 2022 in Washington, DC. 
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

You have to feel a little bad for former Duke star RJ Barrett. He spent the summer as the subject of trade rumors involving Donovan Mitchell. Perhaps as part of this, his extension was not signed until just recently (and almost immediately Mitchell was traded - to the Cleveland Cavaliers).

Now stories are surfacing suggesting that New York - the team that Barrett dreamed of playing for as a kid and to whom he has been very loyal - didn’t really want to sign him.

Obviously basketball is a business and if you can get better assets than you have, that’s the smart thing to do.

But there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things. When you look at the really great franchises, in any sport, or for that matter in college, there is a common thread in all of them: they deal with people fairly and honestly (okay, maybe not the New England Patriots, but there’s always one in every crowd).

Red Auerbach took criticism for not dumping aging stars. Jerry Buss signed Magic Johnson to a huge deal early in his career to make it clear that he wanted him to always be a Laker. The pre-Steinbrenner family Yankees had an amazing farm system. The Dodgers treated people right.

The most basic requirement of any competitive enterprise has to be trust. If you can’t trust your teammates, your coaches and your management, why would anyone stay there?

And when it comes to the Knicks, there is precious little trust, and that’s largely due to owner James Dolan.

He basically took over management of the Knicks in 1999. That was the same year the Knicks gave Charlie Ward a rookie extension.

No one else signed one until Barrett did and we’re guessing the few that were offered got the hell out of town instead.

Reasonable people can disagree on whether giving Barrett an extension was smart or not but handling people the way the Knicks typically? No one in their right mind wants to deal with that.

Other than Barrett - at least for now.