Ongoing efforts by the New York Knicks to bring in Donovan Mitchell reportedly failed due to the requests made by Utah Jazz in relation to the trade. This led to the three-time NBA All-Star pick moving instead to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
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26-year-old Mitchell, who has played a vital part in getting the Jazz to the playoffs for five seasons on the bounce, was a known target for the Knicks but the deal laid out by Utah put them off pursuing the player any longer.
NBA legend Charles Barkley spoke to the Knicks executive vice president William Wesley and was informed as to why they opted not to continue their pursuit of Mitchell;
“I had this conversation [Thursday night] with World Wide Wes (Wesley) at a dinner. I said, ‘Wes, why did you not make the [Mitchell] trade?’ He said, ‘Oh man, don’t go by the media stuff. They wanted my wife, my kids… He said, ‘I don’t wanna give them [everything]. We wanted the deal, obviously.’”
“But he said, ‘they wanted my wife, they wanted my kids, they wanted my grandkids. They were just trying to rip somebody off.’ So he said… ‘Dude, we’re going to have to pass on it.’ And I give those guys credit because you can’t give away everything for a guy. I like Donovan; he’s a very good player. It was the first time in a long time the Knicks actually [showed restraint].”
The Cleveland Cavaliers opted to go the extra mile to get Donovan Mitchell, and history will prove whether it was the smart thing to do. The choice to give a third unprotected pick, as well as former lottery picks, was a step too far for the Knicks but not the Cavs.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, late changes to the Knicks offer didn’t go down well with the Jazz;
“Utah wanted RJ Barrett, Quentin Grimes, and three first-round picks from New York. That would have been two unprotected and perhaps a protected — up to top-five protected pick. … But, the Knicks did not want to put Grimes in a deal. They were willing to do Immanuel Quickley, and with Immanuel Quickley, Utah’s ask was three unprotected picks. They valued Grimes more than Quickley, and essentially New York said we’ll do Quickley and RJ, but we want two unprotected picks and a protected third — we essentially want what you want for Grimes; we want to put Quickley in that deal. And that was the end.”
The Knicks have endured an extended rough patch in recent seasons, only once in nine years have they secured a winning regular season record, and Mitchell would have greatly assisted in any recovery that coach Tom Thibodeau can secure for a team that last won an NBA title way back in 1972-73.