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THE BRAND NEW York Knicks were long regarded as the front-runners for Donovan Mitchell prior to the star guard was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday for, as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, Collin Sexton, three unprotected first-round picks (2023, 2025 and 2027) and two pick swaps (2026, 2028).
And hubris might have been the difference between your Knicks landing Mitchell and seeing the Utah Jazz deal him to Cleveland instead.
“They thought that they had [Jazz CEO of basketball operations and alternate governor Danny Ainge] and Utah on the barrel,” a league source told Marc Berman of the NY Post concerning the Knicks’ method of trade talks. “They held back on best offers of picks and players and Danny got his three unprotected.”
Per that report, the final provide Knicks designed to the Jazz was “two unprotected first-rounders and three conditional picks with [RJ] Barrett. Ainge passed but was still very thinking about getting Quentin Grimes in the offer.”
After the Knicks signed Barrett to a four-year extension worth around $120 million, including a poison-pill provision that could have made including him in the offer very complicated from the salary-matching perspective, however, any negotiations became even more complicated.
That opened the entranceway for the Cavaliers to pounce, yet again the Knicks are left looking for the kind of true headlining star they’ve lacked because the Carmelo Anthony days.
Granted, the Knicks still have a good core band of Barrett, Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson to go with intriguing young players such as for example Grimes, Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley. Also, they are packed with future draft picks, so if another star becomes on the trade market, they’ll have the ammunition to produce a move.
But also for Knicks fans, passing up on Mitchell will feel just like another blown opportunity from a business which has struggled to consistently field successful. As Berman noted, Mitchell “preferred a Knicks trade another home, but he’s still nearer to the East Coast.”
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Therefore the Knicks had the trade capital to land a hometown star, person who reportedly could have been happy playing for them, and didn’t pull the trigger. That will be considered a tough sell for the Madison Square Garden fanbase desperate to see their Knicks go back to relevance.