Knicks Notes: RJ Barrett's shooting and Immanuel Quickley trade talks

RJ Barrett drives to basket against two Pistons city connect black jerseys
RJ Barrett drives to basket against two Pistons city connect black jerseys

If it’s in the early portion of an NBA season, there’s a good chance you can find Knicks fans worried about RJ Barrett’s shooting.

In his first three seasons, Barrett has been inconsistent with his shot early on and has improved over the course of the year.

His pre and post All-Star Game splits are consistent: lower shooting percentages before the All-Star Game and higher percentages after.

His month-by-month splits tell a similar story: lower in November and December and higher from New Year’s Day on.

It’s not always linear, but Barrett established a pattern in his first three seasons. And he’s started season No. 4 in a similar fashion.

He entered Friday’s game against Detroit shooting 42.5 percent from the field and 30 percent from beyond the arc. But he broke out in a big way against the Pistons, scoring 30 points on 10-of-17 shooting. He also hit three of his eight three-point attempts.

Tom Thibodeau believes Barrett’s perimeter shooting can help him get to the paint.

“When he’s shooting the ball, that really sets up his first step. I think he’s going to get to the line a lot more,” Thibodeau said after New York’s win over Detroit. “There’s time where he’s going and he’s settling at the end and then he's not settling, he’s going towards the rim. When he does that, I think that puts a lot of pressure on the officials. There looking at, ‘OK he’s going to the rim, he’s not fading away. Those are fouls.’”

Barrett got to the line eight times against the Pistons. That tied a season-high. He knocked down a season-high seven free throws. To Thibodeau, Barrett’s performance is a sign that he may be heating up earlier than usual.

“It’s a steady climb for him,” the coach said.

CALLS ON QUICKLEY

The Knicks have gotten calls from teams about trades involving guard Immanuel Quickley, per SNY sources. It’s a bit early in the season; teams don’t typically discuss trades in earnest until Dec. 15, when most veteran free agents can be moved.

But several teams have talked to the Knicks about a potential trade of Quickley. It’s logical to assume that the Knicks would be hesitant to move Quickley, a strong combo guard drafted by the club in 2020. But teams look at the Knicks roster and see a surplus of young players/potential rotation players. There aren’t enough minutes for everyone. So some teams feel that the Knicks will consider trading off at least one of the young players on their roster as the deadline approaches.

Quickley and Obi Toppin are eligible for extensions in the offseason. Cam Reddish will be a restricted free agent.

One trade that may happen sooner than Dec. 15? Jae Crowder getting moved in Phoenix. Crowder has been away from the team while the Suns canvas the league for potential deals.

Miami is among the teams Phoenix has touched base with on a Crowder deal. Per SNY sources, some with Phoenix see Miami’s Max Strus as an integral part of any return for Crowder. I’d assume that Miami would be reluctant to move Strus in a deal for Crowder.

POSSIBLE NBA OWNERSHIP SALE

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst noted recently that some NBA owners may be looking to sell. SNY has learned that the minority owners of the Charlotte Hornets are open to discussing a sale of a sizable portion of their stake in the team.

Gabe Plotkin and Daniel Sundheim purchased a minority share of the Hornets in 2019. The two men are open to discussing a sale of at least part of their share, per sources familiar with the matter.

Michael Jordan owns the vast majority of the team. His share of the team, obviously, would not be impacted in any transaction.

CITY EDITION

The Knicks unveiled their City Edition uniforms on Friday night against Detroit. They were designed by Kith. Kith founder and CEO Ronnie Fieg said the uniforms were inspired by the team’s 1999-2003 uniforms. The Knicks made a run to the NBA Finals in 1999. (They have just one playoff series win since that Finals appearance). Fieg was also named as the team’s first Creative Director. His group designed the court for Friday’s game, which featured a different paint.

Fieg’s specific role with the club isn’t clear but a press release said that he will have responsibilities with the team and will focus on "building a community around an international brand." The Knicks also employ Steve Stoute as a marketing and branding consultant.