With the 2019 NBA Draft two weeks away and according to the latest draft rumors, the New York Knicks have been shopping the third overall pick, presumed to be Duke guard RJ Barrett, and discussed a trade with the Atlanta Hawks.

RJ Barrett Duke
Duke forward RJ Barrett hits a big shot against Michigan State during 2019 March Madness East Regional Finals. (Image: Alex Brandon/AP)

The Hawks have the #8 pick and #10 pick in the upcoming draft. The Hawks could package both the pair of first rounders to the Knicks in order to trade up and secure the third pick. That’s of course if they want to add RJ Barrett to the same backcourt as Rookie of the Year candidate Trae Young.

Players projected in the #8 to #10 slots in various mock drafts include Coby White and Nassir Little from North Carolina, plus Duke’s Cam Reddish and Kentucky’s PJ Washington.

RJ Barrett is the presumed #3 pick in the draft. His teammate at Duke, Zion Williamson, is expected to go number one. The New Orleans Pelicans secured the top pick by winning the Draft Lottery and thereby won the Zion Williamson sweepstakes.

Barrett, a 6-foot-7 forward originally from Toronto, Canada, averaged 22.6 points per game at Duke. Duke preaches more of a position-less philosophy these days, which mirrors the NBA. One of the positive attributes about Barrett was his ability toto smoothly accept a secondary role to superstar Zion Williamson. Many college stars struggle with adjusting to being a role player and not a primary scorer during the first few years in the NBA.

The Memphis Grizzlies also struck it rich in the draft lottery with the second overall pick. The Griz expressed interest in Murray State point guard Ja Morant, who led the Racers to an Ohio Valley Conference title and dazzled fans with a sensational performance in March Madness.

Why No Barrett?

The Knicks would pass on Barrett if they eyed other players in the draft that were somewhere hovering in the Top 10 but not exactly at the top of the class with Williamson, Morant, and Barrett.

Morant underwent minor knee surgery to tidy something up. He’s expected to bounce back quickly. Word got out that the Grizzlies were also looking at RJ Barrett from Duke.

Obviously, if the Grizzlies snag Barrett, the Knicks would be happy to have Ja Morant.

Fans in the NYC metropolitan area love Jarrett Culver from Texas Tech. Culver is proficient at both ends of the court. He led Tech to the Final Four before they lost to Virginia in the championship game.

If the Knicks decided to trade out their #3 pick, it’s because they feel Barrett’s game will not mesh with their incoming free agents.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are the big names that the Knicks want to pursue. But the two biggest impending free agents are not guaranteed to end up playing at MSG next year. After all, the hyper-dysfunctional Knicks are jinxed. The Knicks the most-lucrative franchise in the NBA worth $4 billion. However, toss in the fact that owner James Dolan has a combative relationship with fans and ex-players. Dolan would consider selling the Knicks if you had $5 billion or more.

MSG Davis?

Of course, do not forget about the big elephant in the NBA’s living room: Anthony Davis. The Knicks could package draft picks and players to send to the Pelicans for their disgruntled player. The Knicks and Lakers were among the teams that Davis handpicked as his future destination.

Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets have put everyone not named James Harden on the trading block. Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey is open to any interesting trades during the Rockets’ rebuild involving Chris Paul and/or draft picks.

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