RJ Barrett eyes Knicks return for final game before trade deadline

ORLANDO — RJ Barrett practiced with the Knicks on Tuesday morning and hopes to be back in the starting lineup against the Magic after missing a game with a non-COVID illness.

” I feel better. I’m going to try,” said Barrett, who was eliminated late in the game for Sunday’s home win over the 76ers. “As soon as, like, just before I get to [the Garden]I started feeling it.

“I tried to take medication to prepare. I followed my routine and tried to warm up, but I couldn’t.

Tuesday’s game against the improving Magic will be the Knicks’ last game before Thursday’s trade deadline at 3 p.m. The Nets pulled off the first blockbuster of the season, sending Kyrie Irving to the Mavericks.

“You see it. I only really watch what Woj posts,” Barrett said, referring to ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski. is the first step and I’m sure something will happen towards the deadline.”

RJ Barrett hopes to return to the Knicks roster on Tuesday night.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Armed with a slew of future first-round picks after failing to land All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell last summer, the Knicks would be in the mix for perimeter help like Toronto’s OG Anunoby or Portland’s Josh Hart.

“I’m just doing my job, man. I just came in and played basketball,” Barrett added. “I focus on the team we have at the moment and let management do what they do.”

The Knicks (29-26) entered Tuesday’s game half a game behind Miami for sixth in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They picked up a home win over the Heat last week without starting point guard Jalen Brunson, and they beat the 76ers without Barrett on Sunday behind solid rising performances off the bench by Evan Fournier, Miles McBride and Isaiah Hartenstein.

RJ Barrett during the Knicks' game against the Clippers on February 4, 2023.
RJ Barrett during the Knicks’ game against the Clippers on February 4, 2023.

“It’s called a team. When one of us is out, it’s the next man,” Barrett said. “We’re already down Mitch [Robinson], but it just shows that our team and our guys have more chances and more opportunities and show what they can do. We have a full team, so it’s very encouraging to see.

As for Tuesday’s game, Barrett said “not really” when asked if he had a relationship with fellow Duke Paulo Banchero. The 20-year-old forward – and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 draft – is averaging 20.3 points and 6.6 rebounds in 47 games for the Magic, who have won six of their previous 10 games .

“I was able to go to a game when [Duke] played in the Garden last year and I got to meet him and AJ Griffin and those guys,” Barrett said. “It’s cool to see how he’s progressing and just the amazing year he’s had. He’s very talented. He’s helped them a lot. They’ve improved a lot this year so they’ve had a good one.

New York Post

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