The Donovan Mitchell saga is over and it saw the former Utah Jazz guard get shipped to the Cleveland Cavaliers instead of the New York Knicks, a move that very few saw coming.
Mitchell will join a young core in Cleveland consisting of Evan Mobley and Darius Garland, so the team should instantly become a threat in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks, yet again, are left holding the bag, but they did manage to sign Jalen Brunson so not all is lost.
The former Jazz guard has many ties to the Knicks, and his father works within the New York Mets organization, so him coming to NYC made a lot of sense. In fact, Mitchell himself thought it was going to happen and he told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst it came close to becoming a reality.
Very Close to Becoming a Knick
For the longest time, it seemed like the Knicks were the only team the Jazz were talking with, and any time Utah mentioned other teams getting involved, fans and media alike didn’t seem to take it too seriously.
Even Mitchell admits that he thought he would eventually end up with the Knicks, and he gave a little more detail on how close it really was to Windhorst.
“Very close,” he said. “I won’t say more than that, but I know a little bit more than most. Definitely very close. You know, it didn’t happen. God has a plan for everything.”
Mitchell would’ve created a very strong backcourt with Brunson, but now the Knicks are left scrambling to find the best running mate for him. There are a variety of different ways they can go, and we’ll likely be seeing a bunch of different lineups throughout the season.
Where to Go After Mitchell
Shortly after the trade to the Cavaliers was announced, the Knicks flooded their social media with news of the RJ Barrett extension, perhaps as a way to soften the blow.
With him, Evan Fournier and Quentin Grimes all on the team at the moment, the possibilities for the lineup are plentiful.
For many fans, seeing Fournier shipped out of town or coming off the bench would be ideal as it’d allow both Barrett and Grimes to be starters together.
Making the playoffs will be an uphill battle for the Knicks, and it would’ve been difficult to pull off even with Mitchell on the roster. There are a variety of things the Knicks will need to happen for them to find success.
Perhaps the most important thing that needs to happen is a return to All-NBA form from Julius Randle, if the team decides to hang onto him. When he made the All-Star team and had his monster year, the Knicks made the playoffs and even secured home court advantage. When he regressed from that, the team missed the playoffs.
Another thing that will be appreciated is another leap from Barrett. He’s gotten better each year he’s been in the league, and with his extension now signed, the time is now for him to make his All-Star jump.