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New York Post

RJ Barrett hoping to make Knicks return for final game before NBA trade deadline

By Peter Botte,


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

“Feeling better. I’m gonna try,” said Barrett, who was a late scratch for Sunday’s home win over the 76ers. “As soon as, like, right before I got to [the Garden], I started feeling it.

“I tried to take some medicine trying to get ready. I went through my routine and tried to warm up, but I couldn’t do it.”

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

“You see it. I really only look at what Woj posts,” Barrett said, referring to ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski. “But yeah, it’s that time, so I’m sure Kyrie is the first move and I’m sure there will be something happening towards the deadline.”
RJ Barrett is hoping to return to the Knicks’ lineup on Tuesday night.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Armed with a bevy of future first-round draft picks after failing to obtain All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell last summer, the Knicks are said to be in the mix for perimeter help such as Toronto’s OG Anunoby or Portland’s Josh Hart.

“I just do my job, man. I just come in and play basketball,” Barrett added. “I’m focused on the team we have right now and let management do what they do.”

The Knicks (29-26) entered Tuesday’s game a half-game behind Miami for the sixth playoff position in the Eastern Conference. They posted a home win against the Heat last week without starting point guard Jalen Brunson, and they defeated the 76ers without Barrett on Sunday behind strong step-up performances off the bench by Evan Fournier, Miles McBride and Isaiah Hartenstein.
RJ Barrett during the Knicks’ game against the Clippers on Feb. 4, 2023.

“That’s called a team. When one of us is out, it’s next man up,” Barrett said. “We’re already down Mitch [Robinson], but it just speaks to our team and guys getting more chances and more opportunities and showing what they can do. We got a full squad, so it’s very encouraging to see.”

As for Tuesday’s game, Barrett replied “not really” when asked if he had any relationship with fellow Duke product 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 was able to meet him and AJ Griffin and those guys,” Barrett said. “It’s cool to see how he’s been progressing and just the amazing year that he’s been having. He’s very talented. He’s helped them a lot. They’ve gotten a lot better this year, so they got a good one.”

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