Knicks Analyst Sounds Off on Failed Attempt To Land Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell, New York Knicks

Getty Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz looks up in the final seconds of the game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Seemingly all summer long, all NBA fans and media outlets could find themselves talking about was when, not if, the New York Knicks were going to wind up executing a trade with the Utah Jazz to land star Donovan Mitchell.

Ever since it was reported on July 12 that CEO Danny Ainge was willing to listen to offers for his franchise cornerstone, the Knicks were found heavily linked as being a legitimate trade partner, even claiming the top odds of ultimately landing the guard.

And while the two parties went back and forth in talks for several months, September 1 wound up serving as the proverbial nail in the coffin for any sort of deal taking place between New York and Utah, as NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that the Cleveland Cavaliers had won the Mitchell sweepstakes, exchanging Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, three unprotected first-round picks, and two pick-swaps in the process.

Now to some, holding back on the number of assets the Jazz were reported to have been looking for was the right move for the Knicks to have made.

However, when speaking about the deal on his TikTok account, MSG Analyst Alan Hahn referred to Donovan Mitchell’s trade to Cleveland as a “gut punch.”

“You punt on the draft. You collect all these draft picks. Put yourself in a position to get a three-time All-Star and you’re outbid because you’re not willing to give up one extra unprotected draft pick. That’s going to be the cost of this and time will tell if this was a mistake. But, I’ll tell you what, it’s a gut punch,” Hahn said.

Later on, he would continue by discussing how New York’s unwillingness to part with some of their young players was the ultimate deciding factor in these Mitchell sweepstakes.

“Were they willing to give up Quentin Grimes? Were they willing to give up Obi Toppin,” Hahn said. “Who are the three young guys that the Knicks were going to be willing to give up? Immanuel Quickley as well? That was the tax you were going to have to pay. That and the three unprotected [first-round picks]. That’s what this deal became.

“It’s maddening. I mean, you get all these draft picks. You don’t make a pick in this draft because you collect picks instead. All-Star there to be had and you don’t get him. And when you look at the price, you have to ask yourself [if] you were willing to pay it. Clearly, they weren’t and they lose again.”

Knicks Made Final Push for Mitchell

According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, the New York Knicks made one final offer before Donovan Mitchell was inevitably sent to Cleveland.

Per Fischer’s report, the proposed deal centered around two unprotected first-round picks being offered to Utah, which, obviously, fell one short of what the ball club ended up acquiring from the Cavaliers.

From the jump, Danny Ainge made it well known that he coveted future draft capital as the main asset in any potential trade involving Mitchell, going as far as to initially seek upwards of seven first-round picks, which was something New York wound up being “turned off” by.

On top of this, the Jazz were also reported as having a “strong interest” in acquiring RJ Barrett in a possible blockbuster though, with the Knicks’ decision to extend him to a four-year, $120 million contract on August 29, seeing him being included in any deal was viewed by some as being “virtually impossible.”

Other Pundits Chastise Knicks

Alan Hahn is certainly not the only sports pundit to have chimed in on the conclusion of the Donovan Mitchell sweepstakes.

Just minutes after Wojnarowski broke the unsavory news, CBS Sports NBA reporter Sam Quinn took to Twitter to share his feelings on the matter, labeling it a “massive failure” for the Knicks.

“I thought it was really important for the Knicks to get Donovan Mitchell here and now because in the not-too-distant future, they’re gonna be bidding on stars in the trade market with Oklahoma City and Houston, who have way more to offer. This is a massive failure on their part,” Quinn wrote.

After that, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith sounded off on the situation himself, seemingly taking no time to get out of his car to do so.

“Every single time, man, something goes wrong,” Smith said in a video he tweeted. “Once again we’re going to go into another season, and the New York Knicks are devoid of a star. … They make me sick. Nothing ever gets done in New York with the Knicks. Nothing! Nothing. … It just never ends with the Knicks.”

Now, while the majority of reactions to the deal were quite grim from a Knicks standpoint, some (personally, like myself) actually believe that the front office not biting on Utah’s demands may have actually been the right move to make.

Frank Isola, who used to cover the Knicks for the New York Daily News, is seemingly one of these individuals, as he tweeted that the Knicks were “better off” for not making the trade.

Obviously, there are several different takes New York Knicks fans seem to have when it comes to how the team’s Donovan Mitchell pursuits ended.

Now with it all in the rearview, however, perhaps their energy may be better focused on what could wind up being just on the horizon.

Be it Plan B trade options or possible rotational adjustments, there’s plenty that could still wind up unfolding for the Knickerbockers as we head into the 2022-23 season.

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