RJ Barrett feels ‘weird’ returning to MSG as a Raptor

Boston Celtics v Toronto Raptors
RJ Barrett will return to Madison Square Garden on Saturday for the first time since the New York Knicks traded him to the Toronto Raptors on December 30

RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley will return to Madison Square Garden on Saturday, as the Toronto Raptors visit New York to take on the Knicks. This will be the first time that the two players will play at MSG since the trade that sent them to the Raptors on Dec. 30 in exchange for OG Anunoby.

Barrett doesn't know what to expect when he returns to play his former team in New York.

"Definitely weird. It's weird right now!" he said, via SNY.

Both players were part of New York's young core and helped the franchise return to playoff contention.

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What kind of reception will RJ Barrett get in return to MSG?

Both RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley didn't expect to get traded and leave the Knicks. Still, they understand that trades are part of the business and now have their sights set on helping the Toronto Raptors climb to the playoff spots.

Both players should get a warm reception from Knicks fans and a standing ovation in their return to New York for the first time as opponents, as they helped make New York a playoff contender again.

Barrett spoke with media heading into his return to Madison Square Garden and had nothing but good words to say about the Knicks.

"I helped build something in New York. When I came there, we were not good. I left it a lot better than when it started. I am happy for those guys over there," Barrett said to Andscape, via the New York Post.
"I grew up as a player and a person over there in New York. I will never forget those four and a half years."

RJ Barrett shared his excitement about the opportunity to play for his hometown team, but admitted that parting ways with the Knicks after almost five years is a 'bittersweet' feeling.

"It is bittersweet. I enjoy playing for the Raptors, being at home. But leaving New York, the place that has kind of been home for me the last four-and-a-half years, it is difficult," the versatile forward said while speaking with Newsday.

RJ Barrett had averages of 18.1 points during his five-year stint with the Knicks. He is now averaging 20.2 points in his first 10 appearances with the Raptors, on 54.7% shooting from the field, including 39.5% from beyond the arc.

Despite Barrett and Quickley's additions, the Raptors continue to struggle and they are currently 12th in the East with 16 wins and 26 losses. The Atlanta Hawks, who hold the final play-in spot, are 2.5 games ahead of them (18-23).

New York is fifth with 25 wins and 17 losses, just half a game behind the Cleveland Cavaliers (24-15), who hold the fourth spot in the East standings.

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Edited by Rajdeep Barman
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