In their sixth game of the regular season, the New York Knicks will face Donovan Mitchell and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Ohio. This is not only an important Eastern Conference test, but it’s the first time that the Knicks will go up against the All-Star guard that many assumed would end up in New York.
Cleveland’s started out the year 4-1 with wins over Chicago, Washington, Orlando, and Boston. Mitchell’s averaging 31 points, 6.4 assists, and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 47.8% from the field and 40.5% from the three-point line. To no surprise, he’s looked great.
It’s hard to not wonder what the Knicks would look like right now if a trade would’ve gone through, and it’s still very early in the season, but there are reasons to be glad that a trade didn’t happen. None of this is a knock against Mitchell, who would’ve undoubtedly made New York better. The Knicks have caught flak for “missing out” on another star, but even without Mitchell, the team has been able to turn some heads thanks to one key offseason addition not named Donovan Mitchell.
Since it isn’t worthwhile to think about what could’ve been, let’s look at three silver linings of New York not trading for Donovan Mitchell.
3 positives that are a result of the Knicks not trading for Donovan Mitchell
3: Knicks didn’t cave to Danny Ainge’s demands
This one is obvious. Soon after the Utah Jazz traded Rudy Gobert and made it known that they were willing to have discussions about Donovan Mitchell, it turned into New York or nowhere. The discussions between the Jazz and the Knicks reportedly stalled out soon after they started, and that was the result of Danny Ainge’s demands.
Of course, Ainge wasn’t going to let Mitchell go for a couple of first-round picks and a couple of role players, especially given what Utah got in return for Gobert. Reports were going around about what New York apparently had offered and what Utah was in search of. Ultimately, the Jazz ended up getting three unprotected first-round picks, two pick swaps, and three players from the Cavaliers. The Knicks could’ve given that up, but didn’t.
According to SNY’s Ian Begley, New York made offers that included RJ Barrett and offers that included Quentin Grimes (who was thought to be untouchable), but Utah wanted both. So, yes, it’s a good thing that Mitchell’s in Cleveland.