Over a year has passed since Donovan Mitchell was traded to the Cavaliers instead of the New York Knicks. Since then, New York eliminated Cleveland in the first round of the playoffs, with the players the team didn’t give up for Mitchell playing a significant role in the series win.
Danny Ainge’s price tag for the guard was too high for the Knicks, but that apparently wasn’t the only reason Leon Rose and the front office didn’t go all-in.
According to former GM Scott Perry, who left the organization over the summer, Mitchell’s playoff resume also played a factor. Perry was a guest on ‘The Hoop Genius’ podcast, offering new information about the Mitchell pursuit (h/t New York Post).
"“Obviously we made a push to trade for him,” Perry said on a recent episode of “The Hoop Genius“ podcast.“But it was going to be done within reason. He was a good player but he needed more around him to win. Because if he was that singular force, Utah probably would’ve been in the conference finals if he were that singular force. But he wasn’t that singular force. That’s not a criticism against him. That’s just an evaluation that you must make.”"
Will Knicks’ reason for not trading for Donovan Mitchell affect Joel Embiid pursuit?
While Donovan Mitchell is a player New York could pursue once again in the offseason if he doesn’t sign an extension, the team’s reported top priority is Joel Embiid.
If one of the main reasons the Knicks didn’t trade for Mitchell had to do with his playoff resume, what does that mean for Embiid? Like Mitchell, Embiid’s yet to lead Philadelphia to the conference finals.
The center averaged 33.1 points per game during the 2022-23 regular season en route to his first MVP title but averaged only 23.7 in the 2023 playoffs, the largest dropoff in league history.
In 53 postseason games, Embiid averaged 24.0 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists. Mitchell’s played fewer playoff games (44) but has averaged more points than Embiid (27.8).
Based on what Perry said, should New York even be interested in Embiid at all? It’s no secret that he’s on the front office’s radar, and Daryl Morey will demand the world in return for Embiid if he does request a trade. Will the Knicks be willing to meet the Sixers’ price?
One of New York’s primary goals has been to trade for a star since Leon Rose took over as team president in 2020. While the Knicks have rightfully been patient over the past three and a half years, their big move is predicted to come sometime in the next year or so.
Maybe New York will take itself out of the running for Embiid based on what Philadelphia could demand in return. However, if the Knicks do so, will it ever be the right time to trade for a star?