Donovan Mitchell-to-New York Rumblings Persist After Knicks Oust Cavs

Donovan Mitchell Cleveland Cavaliers

Getty Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The failed Donovan Mitchell trade in the offseason dominated the storyline of the New York KnicksCleveland Cavaliers‘ first-round playoff series.

After the Knicks made quick work of Mitchell and the Cavaliers in five games, the New York-born four-time All-Star guard tried to put out the fire once and for all.

“I feel like everybody else has made it this whole storyline,” Mitchell said after getting eliminated for the second straight postseason. “I knew it was going to be a thing. I’m on Instagram. I see it, it’s everywhere. You guys talk about it. We all talk about it. But honestly, it happened. I didn’t go there. I’m here. They beat us. It’s over with. You know what I mean? And I’m happy with what we have, and I didn’t do my job. And that’s what I’m pissed off about.”

But even how many times Mitchell says, “It’s over with,” the fire hasn’t been extinguished. It’s growing and will only continue to grow after each Cavaliers’ postseason failure.

The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd reported in the aftermath of the Knicks’ gentleman sweep of the Cavaliers that Mitchell to New York is inevitable in the foreseeable future.

“Mitchell didn’t choose Cleveland. He was sent here when he thought he was going to New York. Mitchell has been a model teammate during his time here. Nevertheless, talk has persisted in league circles throughout this season that he will indeed go to New York at his first opportunity. The Cavs knew the score when they made the deal and now they’re in a difficult spot. Mitchell has two years of team control remaining before a player option year,” Lloyd wrote.

Mitchell can become a free agent in the summer of 2025 if he doesn’t pick up his player option.

The Cavaliers’ clock is ticking. The Knicks fans are waiting.

Jimmy Butler, Tom Thibodeau Trade Barbs

The Mitchell-Knicks storyline quickly shifts to Jimmy Butler vs. Tom Thibodeau in the second round.

Butler first threw the shade on his former coach, Thibodeau, who developed him in Chicago until he became a perennial All-Star in Minnesota.

“Ain’t nobody worried about Thibs,” Butler told reporters after scoring 42 points in Game 5 to eliminate the Bucks in Milwaukee on Wednesday and forged a Heat-Knicks second-round matchup.

Thibodeau fired back on Friday after Knicks held their first practice following their first-round win over the Cavaliers.

“I said this many times, anyone that you’ve coached and have been around, I always follow and support him and want him to do well except when we play each other,” Thibodeau told reporters after Friday’s practice. “So, I know what he’s about. He knows what we’re about. So, let’s go!”

The player-coach battle adds a new wrinkle to the old rivalry of the Knicks and Heat, which dates back to the 90s when Pat Riley left New York for Miami, which earned him an unkind monicker, “Pat the Rat.”

Knicks Hope to Get Quentin Grimes, Julius Randle Back for Game 1

Quentin Grimes is on track to return after a two-game absence, while Julius Randle remains questionable.

Grimes participated fully in Knicks’ Friday practice and expressed confidence.

“That’s the plan [to play in Game 1],” Grimes told reporters after Friday’s practice. “I’m going to practice again tomorrow and if I feel good like I did today, that’s most definitely the plan.”

Meanwhile, Randle did not do contact drills, but Thibodeau remains hopeful.

“He didn’t do much [Friday], but he’s feeling a little bit better,” Thibodeau said of Randle. “So he goes through the rehab. See where he is tomorrow. He’s better today than yesterday, and that’s the big thing. We’re hopeful.”

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