Knicks fans have new Donovan Mitchell hope after Cavaliers jinx themselves

Dan Gilbert knows better.
New York Knicks, Leon Rose
New York Knicks, Leon Rose / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

The New York Knicks' hunt for a superstar is still on. The front office has patiently accumulated draft assets for a major trade, but one hasn't materialized yet. There isn't mounting pressure for New York to make a trade, as Leon Rose has already assembled a winning squad led by Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle.

With the end of the 2023-24 regular season rapidly approaching, the playoffs will reveal which stars may want out of their current situations. One player who will draw a lot of attention (he already has) is Donovan Mitchell. He didn't sign an extension with the Cavaliers before the season but could do so in the offseason.

Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert told the Associated Press he thinks the All-Star guard will sign an extension this summer. That statement could quickly come back to haunt him.

"We’ve been talking to him, sure, for the last couple of years about extending this contract,” Gilbert said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press. “We think he will extend. I think if you listen to him talk, he loves the city.

“He loves the situation in Cleveland because our players are very young and we’re just kind of putting the core together that he’s clearly the biggest part of."

Dan Gilbert, via AP

Cavaliers owner thinks Donovan Mitchell will sign extension in offseason

Mitchell has a $37 million player option in 2025-26 that he could decline to become a free agent as soon as next summer. If he decides not to sign an extension with the Cavaliers, Gilbert will have to consider a trade, whether over the summer or before the 2025 deadline.

Just because Gilbert believes Mitchell will sign an extension doesn't mean that'll happen. Mark Cuban thought Brunson would stay in Dallas, but he signed with New York instead after the Mavericks refused to offer him an extension.

Thanks to the Knicks, the Cavaliers were a first-round playoff exit in Mitchell's first season in Cleveland. If something similar happens this season, that could be the deciding factor for Mitchell. The idea of possibly playing for a team like the Knicks (or even the Heat) could lure him away from the Cavaliers.

Mitchell hasn't said he's unhappy in Cleveland. He never said he didn't sign an extension before the season started because he was unsure of his future with the Cavaliers. He's a true professional. Look back at how he handled the trade rumors when he was with the Jazz. He sat back and let Danny Ainge handle everything. Mitchell didn't publicly request a trade, nor did he force anything.

Like every other NBA player, Mitchell wants to win. He'd likely be open to a trade if he thinks there's a better opportunity for him elsewhere. He won't have a say in where he goes, but there's reason to believe he wouldn't be against a trade to the Knicks.

New York was interested in trading for Mitchell two years ago, but Utah's price tag was too high. He won't be near as expensive to acquire if he doesn't sign an extension, which would force Cleveland to think about a trade.

This summer will be plenty entertaining.

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