Donovan Mitchell’s potential trade between the Knicks and the Jazz just got tougher.
When ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that R. J. Barrett and the Knicks were finalizing a four-year contract extension with a rookie that could be worth up to $120 million, he was quick to add that the deal complicates “the franchise’s off-season chase for Utah Jazz All-Star Donovan Mitchell.”
According to Wojnarowski, the Knicks set a deadline with the Jazz on Monday to negotiate a trade for Mitchell. Otherwise, New York would have completed a rookie extension for their former No. 3 overall pick, which was seen as a potential part (along with draft compensation) in the trade.
You will see the term “poison pill” being used in discussions related to this situation, which makes Mitchell’s deal, which includes Barrett, much more difficult due to the extension he is about to sign.
What does the term “poison pill” mean, and can the Knicks find a way to get Mitchell despite Barrett’s contract extension?
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What is the poison pill restriction in the NBA?
In relation to NBA contracts, the term “poison pill” is used to describe a situation in which a team renews a rookie’s contract but attempts to trade that player before the renewal takes effect.
The situation is complicated due to the large salary gap between the last year of the rookie contract and the first year of the contract extension.
As detailed by ESPN’s Bobby Marks In Barrett’s case, if the Knicks still wanted to trade the 22-year-old for Mitchell, they would send the Jazz $10.9 million (Barrett’s salary from the last year of his rookie contract). to receive $26.2 million, which is Barrett’s average salary over the next five years.
Here is an example of poison pill restriction and its effects.
One column works and the other doesn’t.
Video explaining it pic.twitter.com/TCRJXBGQfD
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) August 30, 2022
Is not impossible for the two teams to reach an agreement on an agreement to those provisions, but that makes it less likely before the start of the 2022-2023 NBA season given that the poison pill restriction won’t be lifted until July 1, 2023.
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Can the Knicks still trade Donovan Mitchell?
They could, but if the Jazz are determined to make a deal with Barrett, history will turn against the Knicks.
As Voinarovsky mentioned, there have been 179 players in NBA history who have been restricted from using poison pills. Only one – Devin Harris in 2008 – was sold.
Wojnarowski noted that “For Barrett to be included in the Jazz deal, the Knicks would need to find a third team with a salary cap slot to reroute Evan Fournier’s $37 million contract.”
Rumors swirled that the Lakers were a potential third team to force the Mitchell Knicks into a deal, and Los Angeles would welcome veteran shooters Fournier and Bojan Bogdanovic.
Now, the Lakers becoming that third team looks more like a necessity than an option if Barrett is included in the Mitchell trade deal.