2: Donovan Mitchell
Donovan Mitchell feels like an old Knicks friend between the 2022 trade saga that involved him wanting to be back home in New York. The 27-year-old guard is entering year two in Cleveland, hoping it won’t end with another first-round exit.
At Media Day, Mitchell confirmed he won’t sign an extension before the season starts, which makes sense because he could be eligible for more money next summer.
He reiterated his focus on winning a championship, which, shocker, is what most NBA players are focused on. The Cavaliers are projected to be another top team in the East this season, especially after signing shooters Max Strus and Georges Niang in free agency. The question is whether or not Cleveland will fizzle out in the playoffs for the second straight year.
Including 2023-24, Mitchell has three years left on his current contract. He has a $37 million player option in 2025-26, so there’s always the chance that he could be a free agent in 2025, no matter how slight it might be. If he doesn’t want to sign an extension with the Cavaliers, their front office would trade him before letting him walk for nothing.
As bizarre as it may seem, New York could get Mitchell for a cheaper price than Cleveland paid. He wouldn’t admit it publicly if so, but how could he still not be thinking about the idea of playing for the Knicks one day?
New York is right to have Mitchell on its list of top trade targets, as he’s made his mark in the playoffs and is still three years away from turning 30.