Although the Donovan Mitchell sweepstakes are over, that hasn’t stopped more information from pouring in about how the New York Knicks failed to close the deal for the former Utah Jazz star.
Many around the league believed it was a near certainly the Jazz guard was going to find his way to New York, but the Cleveland Cavaliers swept in and stole him out from under their nose.
It’s not the end of the world for the Knicks as they still added Jalen Brunson this offseason, solving the point guard problem for the team. On top of that, they were able to bring back Mitchell Robinson and get RJ Barrett signed to an extension, so the young core will be here to stay.
Part of way to alleviate the cost for the Knicks was to bring in a third team to offer assets. For the Knicks, the plan was to bring in the Los Angeles Lakers because it would’ve given the western powerhouse the chance to even unload Russell Westbrook.
However, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Lakers never got involved and the Knicks weren’t able to get a third team to help out in the deal.
Lakers Never Got Involved
Speaking on “The Hoop Collective Podcast,” Windhorst reveals the Lakers, or another team for that matter, were actively in discussions.
“…there were three-team constructions between the Jazz and Knicks for Donovan Mitchell,” Windhorst said, hat tip to Bleacher Report. “where players would go to a third team, but obviously they didn’t do a deal, but the Lakers were never directly involved with that.”
Part of the reason might’ve been the league-wide disinterest in bringing on Westbrook, and even his expiring deal doesn’t seem to be appealing for teams as of now. The former MVP is just one season removed from leading the Washington Wizards into the playoffs, so there’s a good chance he has something left in the tank.
For the Knicks, the fact that Westbrook may have been the headliner in bringing in the Lakers as a third team might’ve left them with issues getting the Jazz to get on board.
In the end, the Jazz took what New York considered to be a worse offer in exchange for Mitchell.
“The Knicks, according to sources, feel like their proposals with RJ Barrett as the centerpiece with multiple first-round picks were better than the Cavs’ final offer, which is up to interpretation,” wrote New York Daily News reporter Stefan Bondy.
Knicks Moving Forward
While it’s disappointing the Knicks missed out on yet another star in New York, it might end up being for the best considering they didn’t have to mortgage their future for Mitchell.
It’s going to be a tough road ahead for New York, and there’s a very real chance they don’t make the playoffs again this season even with the addition of Brunson. Former New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy says the key to the team making the postseason is actually Julius Randle.
“Randle bounce-back is the No. 1 factor and it’s how he addresses last season,” he told the New York Post. “Has he looked inward or he still going to be funky?”
The Knicks have a solid team in place going into the new year, but whether it’s enough to even make the play-in tournament remains to be seen.