NBA insider's remarks further prove former Knicks trade target isn't a priority

That ship has sailed!
New York Knicks
New York Knicks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Two years ago, New York Knicks fans thought their long-awaited star was finally on the way. Technically speaking, they weren't wrong.

After the Mavericks eliminated the Jazz in the first round of the playoffs (their last postseason appearance), the Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert trade rumors were in full force. When Utah traded Gobert to Minnesota at the beginning of July, attention shifted to Mitchell.

For two months, an edit of Mitchell in a New York jersey flooded social media. The star guard would finally suit up for his "hometown" team. He was supposed to help the Knicks end their championship drought, but then the news dropped. Cleveland, not New York, met Utah's price of three unprotected first-round picks.

"Missing out" on Mitchell isn't the only reason the Knicks were clowned that offseason. In free agency, they signed Jalen Brunson to a four-year, $104 million deal. Many people didn't understand why the front office would give that much money to Brunson, a player who spent the first four seasons of his career in Luka Doncic's shadow.

Since 2022, New York has eliminated Cleveland in the first round of the playoffs. The Knicks have back-to-back second-round appearances, while the Cavaliers narrowly made it past a young Magic team in the first round of the 2024 playoffs. Brunson is an All-Star, All-NBA player.

Donovan Mitchell is no longer one of the Knicks' top trade targets

Mitchell could be on the move again if he doesn't sign an extension with Cleveland this summer. The Cavaliers are confident he'll sign a long-term deal, but anything can happen in the NBA.

The Knicks haven't cashed in their assets yet, so if Mitchell hits the market again, New York could explore the possibility of a trade. However, based on recent reports, it doesn't seem that'll be the case. SNY's Ian Begley reported the Knicks won't be as "aggressive" in their pursuit of Mitchell, and The Athletic's Fred Katz reported they wouldn't be as "enthusiastic" in their pursuit (subscription required).

On "The HoopsHype Podcast," Michael Scotto made it sound like there's no chance New York will go after Mitchell.

"The Knicks have always prioritized the flexibility of being able to trade for a star. That’s why they have a boatload of draft picks and flexible contracts they can include in deals. Bondy, to your question about who that star would be, let’s get this out of the way: The Donovan Mitchell to New York ship has sailed."

Michael Scotto, HoopsHype

The Knicks can look at how the Trae Young-Dejounte Murray backcourt pairing has worked out for Atlanta (it hasn't). Murray's defense has dipped significantly. Brunson and Mitchell are great offensively, but both are ball-dominant and aren't defensive-minded guards.

New York wants to find a star who will fit in well under Tom Thibodeau. The front office has proven they won't pounce on any player just to say they traded for a star. What they're building has taken time and patience. Not trading for Mitchell might've seemed like the end of the world for some fans two years ago, but look at the Knicks now.