It would have been a match made in heaven. A New York kid. A multi-time All-Star. Great character guy. Mitchell checked all the boxes.
So what happened behind the scenes? Why did the Knicks not go all-in and allow the Cavaliers to pull off a last-minute heist?
“You got to ask yourself if you’re going to [make that kind of trade], the other team that you’re trading with wants to take two-thirds or three-quarters of all your good young talent and all of your draft capital,” former Knicks general manager Scott Perry said in the Hoop Genius podcast, ” is what is left behind going to be good enough for you to win or be better than what you are or if you just hold on to what you have and be a little patient?
“So that’s the thought process in that, and obviously, we made a push to trade for him, but it was gonna be done within reason,” Perry said.
It turned out to be a good bet for the Knicks as they beat Mitchell and the Cavaliers in the first round with Jalen Brunson, their key free agent signing last year, blossoming into a rising star.
“We felt that [Mitchell] was a good player, but he needed more around him to win because if he was that singular force, Utah probably would have been in the conference finals,” Perry explained. “If he was that singular force, but he wasn’t that singular for his game. And that’s not a criticism. That’s just an evaluation that you must make. And those are the tough evaluations.”
Mitchell continued to be linked to the Knicks. The rumor grew louder when he elected not to sign an extension in the offseason. Mitchell has only one more guaranteed year left on his contract after this season. But he can also sign an extension with the Cavaliers next summer.
NBA Refs Admits Blunder in Knicks-Celtics Thriller
A five-point swing off a Brunson flopping technical foul in the fourth quarter benefited the Boston Celtics. They went on to complete a come-from-behind 108-104 win over the Knicks in their season opener last October 25.
The NBA Referees, through their X (formerly Twitter) account, admitted Brunson should not have been called for the technical foul and instead would have been awarded with three free throws.
“We missed the foot-to-foot contact, which should have resulted in a personal foul and reviewed for flagrant. Had no foot-to-foot contact existed, this type of secondary and theatrical movement by Brunson would meet the criteria for a non-unsportsmanlike technical foul for flopping. It is possible to have a foul and a flop on the same play, but the foot-to-foot contact is what causes Brunson’s movement and no flop should have been called,” the NBA Referees’ X post said.
Kristaps Porzingis Relishes Garden Villain Role
Kristaps Porzingis dropped 30 points, eight rebounds and four blocks to beat his former team.
“It’s an awesome feeling to come back, now being a Celtic, and play here,” Porzingis told reporters via NBC Boston. “Even getting booed and getting all that, it’s still cool. I really like that and enjoy that.”