The biggest saga of the NBA offseason may have involved the other team in New York, but the Knicks were far from quiet during this offseason. The team signed Jalen Brunson, and for a large chunk of the summer, were considered to have the best shot in the entire league at landing Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz. They were reportedly locked in negotiations with the franchise and Danny Ainge. However, Mitchell famously ended up being moved to the Cleveland Cavaliers instead.
A large part of what made the Knicks favorite to land Mitchell was the treasure trove of picks they had at their disposal. The team had roughly 8 first-round picks to trade along with youngsters like Immanuel Quickly, Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes, and even RJ Barrett. However, it was the Cavs offer that included 3 first-round picks, 2 pick swaps, Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, and Ochai Agbaji that got the job done.
This gave the Cavaliers another addition to an excellent young lineup that many expect to challenge in the Eastern Conference. However, it left the Knicks without a star on the roster yet again, something they have grown accustomed to in the last few decades.
Some In The New York Knicks Organization Believe They Had A Better Offer For Donovan Mitchell
According to the New York Daily News, there are those in New York that believe the Knicks made a better offer than Cleveland did for Mitchell. With rumors circulating about the Jazz's reasons for trading him to the Cavaliers, this report is quite interesting to think about.
“Members of the Knicks felt they didn’t get a fair shake from the Jazz in their trade negotiations for Donovan Mitchell, a pursuit that ended Thursday with the guard’s shocking deal to the Cavaliers,” wrote Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
“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,” Bondy wrote. “Only [Danny] Ainge knows if he negotiated in good faith. He’d never admit it if he didn’t. People who know Ainge say he’d never jeopardize a deal over something petty, whether it was that silly front-row display at the Jazz playoff game or issues with either the Knicks or CAA (the talent agency closely associated with the Knicks).
"But it’s worth noting Ainge only completed one trade with the Knicks during his 18 years in the [Boston] Celtics’ front office. He was much more active with Cleveland while completing eight deals, including the blockbuster involving Kyrie Irving in 2017 when current Cavs GM Koby Altman was in his first year at that position.”
This is an interesting conundrum to unravel, although it is hard to imagine that Danny Ainge would take a poorer deal just to spite the Knicks or Mitchell. However, with reports since the trade suggesting that the Knicks were willing to include RJ Barrett in the deal, it certainly does raise the question of why the Jazz would choose the deal that they ended up choosing.