3: Donovan Mitchell
Donovan Mitchell has been on New York’s trade radar for a few years now. After the Jazz suffered yet another first-round playoff exit in 2022, there was speculation Utah could tear down the Donovan Mitchell-Rudy Gobert duo. That speculation was confirmed when the Jazz got a monumental haul from the Timberwolves in exchange for Gobert.
New York and Utah went back and forth in trade talks for Mitchell over the next two months before Cleveland swooped in to meet the Jazz’s three unprotected first-round picks demand. The Knicks were mocked for not trading for Mitchell, although New York got the last laugh by eliminating Mitchell and Cleveland in the first round of the playoffs.
Another disappointing first-round exit with a new team led to questions about Mitchell’s future with the Cavaliers. He’s eligible to sign an extension this offseason, but the real question is if he’ll extend with Cleveland next summer. If the Cavaliers aren’t in a position to transfer their regular season success to the playoffs for a second straight year, Mitchell could look for an out in February.
After 2023-24, Mitchell will make $34.8 million in 2024-25 before having a $37 million player option in 2025-26. With Cleveland knowing he’ll be on an expiring contract next summer, the Cavaliers may have to cut their losses and trade him less than two years after acquiring him.
New York opted to extend RJ Barrett last offseason rather than include him in a trade for the star guard, but maybe he’ll still wind up being packaged in a deal for Mitchell.