Knicks' belief about Donovan Mitchell trade proves front office is for real

Don't expect another Donovan Mitchell saga.
New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Donovan Mitchell
New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Donovan Mitchell / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

The 2022 offseason was full of anxiety for New York Knicks fans. The Donovan Mitchell trade saga lasted for two months before the Cavaliers swooped in and met the Jazz's demands. New York was clowned after, but less than a year later, Knicks fans were the ones laughing after they eliminated the Cavaliers in the playoffs.

Entering the 2024 offseason, all eyes are still on Mitchell for a different reason. He could sign an extension with Cleveland after declining to do so before the 2023-24 season. If he doesn't, the Cavs should listen to trade offers, meaning another summer could revolve around Mitchell's future.

Several weeks ago, SNY's Ian Begley reported that if Mitchell does hit the trade market, the Knicks won't be as "aggressive" as they were in 2022. On Friday, The Athletic's Fred Katz reported something similar (subscription required).

"If Mitchell were to hit the trade market again this summer, league sources say the Knicks would not be as enthusiastic in their pursuit of him — and that’s because the situation has changed."

Fred Katz, The Athletic

Knicks could remove themselves from Donovan Mitchell sweepstakes

Two years ago, New York signed Jalen Brunson to a four-year, $104 million deal in free agency. Leon Rose and Co. were confident it was a good signing (or else they wouldn't have done it), but not many people (if any) predicted he'd be this good.

Whoever the Knicks trade for will have to mesh well with Brunson, the only true untouchable player on the roster. New York could reference Atlanta's issues with its Trae Young-Dejounte Murray backcourt. Brunson and Mitchell are also ball-dominant guards who have defensive weaknesses. In the playoffs, those weaknesses get exposed.

If one of the Knicks' front offices from the past were still in charge, they likely wouldn't hesitate to send the farm to Ohio if Mitchell became available. New York is in the position it is in because of Rose, who has carefully assembled a contender roster, and that's without trading for another star.

If Mitchell turns down a Cavs extension, the Knicks would most likely (again) be at the top of his trade destination list, but the feeling might not be mutual this time.