Grade the Trade: Knicks send the farm for Donovan Mitchell in new pitch

Quentin Grimes, New York Knicks and Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers
Quentin Grimes, New York Knicks and Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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Grade the Trade: Should Knicks make the offer?

The question of whether the New York Knicks need to make another trade is obvious. They desperately need another offensive creator, and ideally, a star who can be a co-star with Jalen Brunson; Julius Randle continues to defy the worst of his haters, but he is ultimately a high-volume, middling-efficiency player who has historically wilted against focused defensive attention such as he receives in the playoffs. He can't be the second-best player on a Knicks contender.

The other pathways to adding such a player are also now off the table. After re-signing OG Anunoby this summer they won't be a player in free agency for a while, and their only candidate on the roster to develop into a star, Immanuel Quickley, is now out the door. If they want another star, they need to trade for them.

If Donovan Mitchell is their guy, this deal is excellent value for him. He finished sixth in MVP voting last season, is one of the league's most dynamic on-ball shot creators, and has proven he can elevate his game in the playoffs. Given his CAA representation and his hometown being New York, the Knicks can have confidence that he would stick around in Gotham for years to come.

The problem with targeting Mitchell, however, is twofold. First, they would be locking themselves into a small backcourt, recreating the same basic issue that the Cavaliers have had with Darius Garland and Mitchell in their backcourt. The Cavs have tried to balance that out with two elite defensive bigs in Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, but there have been issues. The Knicks would have to believe that the size of OG Anunoby on the wing plus their penchant for always playing a traditional big would insulate them from the weakness of pairing two small guards.

Secondly, using assets to bring back Mitchell would take them out of the sweepstakes for a Top-10 player. Right now they have a slim chance of getting into such a trade, stacking an obscene number of first-round picks on a deal that could include Grimes and either Hart or DiVincenzo. Trading for Mitchell might mean locking into a team with two Top-25 players instead of the Top-10 guy they would need to truly contend.

Donovan Mitchell may subsequently be the best player they can get and not good enough. Where you draw the lines on both sides of that equation determine whether this is a trade worth making. The value is solid, the fit is intriguing, and the upside is there. Is that enough for the Knicks to pull the trigger on a second consecutive blockbuster?

Grade: B

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