It wasn't long ago that the Knicks boldly traded their franchise star to Dallas. New York got Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, and future draft picks in exchange. The trade, for them, was more about preparing for the summer than anything, as it frees a good portion of their money off the books after this current season.
The Knicks went all-in on finding, and paying, for a star this upcoming summer, electing to sacrifice Kristaps Porzingis in the process.
But had they pulled off a different trade, they would be in a much better position.
According to Stefan Bondy of New York Daily News, the Knicks tried to acquire a certain 23-year-old star from Utah before pulling the trigger on the Dallas deal.
“The Knicks tried to pry Mitchell away from the Jazz in January by dangling Kristaps Porzingis in a trade. But Utah resisted dealing its 23-year-old franchise star.”
This season, Donovan Mitchell is averaging 23.6 points, 4.1 assists, and 1.4 steals on 42.9 percent shooting from the field. As the Jazz roll into the playoff, he will be key for them down the stretch.
Instead of choosing him in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Knicks went with Frank Ntilikina, who is averaging just 5.9 points on 34% shooting in over 21 minutes per game this season. It is these kinds of mistakes that have cost the Knicks years of mediocrity. And in their failed attempt at trying to steal him back, the team was forced to make a seriously risky trade.
Nonetheless, a guy like Kevin Durant would certainly change everything... and it seems like he is their only hope for redemption.