Teams Believe Top Knicks Target Will Be Traded: Report

Donovan Mitchell, New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers

Getty Donovan Mitchell playing against the New York Knicks.

Teams around the NBA are growing to believe that the Cleveland Cavaliers will trade Donovan Mitchell in the offseason, according to Marc Stein of The Stein Line. If it happens, the New York Knicks could be a team interested in the New York native.

“As discussed here on multiple occasions, Mitchell will be entering the final guaranteed year of his current contract next season if there’s no extension, leading to a growing belief among rival teams that the Cavaliers will be forced to trade Mitchell in coming months if they cannot come to terms with him an extension,” Stein wrote in his April 11 story on Substack.

Mitchell has long been rumored to be a Knicks trade target. The rumors were so prevalent at one point that Mitchell’s former Utah Jazz teammate Joe Ingles told Stefan Bondy of the New York Post that he heard the rumors.

“Even when we were in Utah, we would hear Donovan to the Knicks rumors all the time,” Ingles said, Bondy wrote on March 9.

Cavaliers Owner Had Confidence in Mitchell Extension

However, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert told Larry Lage of the Associated Press that he believed Mitchell would his extend contract.

“We’ve been talking to him, sure, for the last couple of years about extending this contract,” Gilbert said, according to Lage’s March 28 story. “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.”

Mitchell’s response added more speculation that a trade to the Knicks or a different team could happen in the offseason.

“I think the biggest thing for me … my focus is I’ve got a lot of things to focus on outside of that (contract negotiation) right now,” Mitchell said, per Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post. “I’ve got to focus on myself, getting back for this group, focus on us getting over this stretch, continuing to be ready when it comes time.

“I’ll handle that when it comes and I understand you have to ask that question,” he continued. I’ll give you the same answer.”

Knicks’ Offseason Plans

The Knicks made deals prior to the NBA trade deadline but didn’t move any first-round picks. In doing so, they set themselves up to land a star in the offseason, making themselves a legitimate option for Mitchell due to the assets they have.

Fred Katz of The Athletic wrote on January 16 that the Knicks’ long-term plan was to add a star to the core. Katz added that a star might not be available until the offseason.

“The long-term plan remains to add a star to the core that’s already present, but the organization still does not expect that star, whoever he may be, to become available until this summer at the earliest, league sources tell The Athletic,” he wrote.

Mitchell, averaging 26.5 points per game this season, would give the Knicks an exciting backcourt with him and Jalen Brunson.

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