The New York Knicks and Utah Jazz looked to be on the verge of a blockbuster deal for several months that would’ve seen Donovan Mitchell arrive in NYC, but talks fell apart and he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Fans and media alike believed the Knicks were the most logical destination for Mitchell, and while that may have been the case, the Jazz decided to ship him to the Cavs in exchange for Collin Sexton and other assets.
There are a variety of possible reasons on why the deal never happened for the Knicks, but at the end of the day it feels like a missed opportunity to bring a star to New York.
A report from the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn says Knicks president Leon Rose and Jazz CEO Danny Ainge never actually spoke to each other throughout the entire process.
Instead, the Knicks had former Timberwolves general manager Gersson Rosas, who was an under-the-radar hiring ahead of last season’s trade deadline, spearhead the discussions.
Rose Not Involved
Washburn revealed the decision was made due to Rosas’ relationship with Jazz general manager Justin Zanik.
“The main negotiator in the Knicks-Jazz talks on New York’s side was Gersson Rosas, who was let go by the Timberwolves for his part in a reportedly dysfunctional front office that included his relationship with a team employee,” he reported. “Rosas was hired as a consultant by the Knicks in February but took control of the Mitchell talks because of his relationship with Jazz general manager Justin Zanik.”
NBA insider Marc Stein reached out to the Knicks about Rosas’ role in the talks, but did not receive a response. Stein did note that talks of this nature did seem odd.
“Negotiating a megatrade, however, is typically several notches above a consultant’s paygrade,” he wrote on his Substack.
In the end, it’s tough to say who is to blame here, and the New York Post’s Marc Berman has noted the Knicks do appear to have “too many cooks in the kitchen” when it comes to talks like this.
“The problem with the Knicks is there’s too many voices, and other teams don’t know who to deal with,” he said in an interview with KnicksBuzz. “So you got Rosas calling you, you got Brock Aller calling you, William Wesley, and I guess president Leon Rose makes some calls too. So, you know, it’s the cliche of too many cooks in the kitchen with the Knicks resulting in a lack of a strong consensus a lot of times.”
Knicks Moving On
Although they whiffed on bringing Mitchell to the team, the Knicks have had a solid offseason with both Jalen Brunson and Isaiah Hartenstein figuring to be impact pieces for the squad.
Quentin Grimes seems poised for a breakout year, RJ Barrett has improved each year he’s been in the league, and there’s the looming excitement for a blockbuster trade for the Knicks fans who are always looking toward the future.
There’s definitely an uphill battle ahead for New York if they plan on making it back to the playoffs, but if all of the young talent takes a leap forward, they can certainly be in the running.