Apologies to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and the rest of the Knicks faithful. We’re going to revisit a painful topic here.
During the 2022 NBA offseason, the Jazz’s front office decided that it was time to begin a rebuild. After Utah landed a massive package from Minnesota in the Rudy Gobert trade, a Donovan Mitchell deal felt inevitable.
For weeks, it seemed as though Mitchell would end up in New York. The 26-year-old is a New York native and is represented by CAA, an agency once led by Knicks president Leon Rose. The Knicks wanted star power in Madison Square Garden, and the Jazz were looking to add to their growing list of assets.
Then, the Cavaliers crashed the party. Cleveland shocked the rest of the NBA world by officially acquiring Mitchell on Sept. 3, ending New York’s hopes of bringing an All-Star guard to “The Big Apple.”
Ahead of the Knicks’ Sunday matchup with the Cavs, it’s worth asking the question…
Why didn’t the Knicks trade for Donovan Mitchell?
In July, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Jazz were willing to listen to offers for Mitchell. New York then emerged as the “focused destination,” according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Tony Jones, who added that the Knicks and Jazz had “discussed a deal framework.”
When the calendar flipped to August, the Knicks and Jazz continued discussing the possibility of a deal. New York was also “fielding offers from other teams,” per Jones.
The Knicks always possessed the first-round picks and young players that the Jazz desired, but New York “balked on including Quentin Grimes” in a trade with RJ Barrett, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Immanuel Quickley was reportedly suggested as a replacement for Grimes, leading to Utah’s request for three unprotected first-round picks.
Ultimately, the Knicks and Jazz couldn’t get on the same page. Utah shifted its attention to Cleveland and never again reached out to New York.
What did the Knicks offer for Donovan Mitchell?
There were multiple versions of a trade package that the Knicks were willing to send to Utah. The Jazz never backed down from their stance, always asking for more.
“The Knicks had a window of time here to get a deal done,” Charania said in September. “They had every opportunity, every chance to try to put forth their offer and step up to the table to bring in Donovan Mitchell. …
“He would have loved to play in New York City, I’m told. That was his top preferred destination, but now he ends up in Cleveland.”
The final haul for the Jazz: Collin Sexton (via sign and trade), Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, three unprotected first-rounders (2025, 2027, 2029) and two pick swaps (2026, 2028).
|Knicks’ first offer||Knicks’ final offer||Cavaliers trade|
|RJ Barrett||RJ Barrett||Collin Sexton|
|Obi Toppin||Immanuel Quickley||Lauri Markkanen|
|Mitchell Robinson||Two unprotected first-round pick||Ochai Agbaji|
|Three unprotected first-round picks||Three unprotected first-round picks|
|Two pick swaps|