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How is it that Donovan Mitchell didn’t know he wasn’t going to the Knicks?

Talk about a surprise. The Cavs’ new star, thought he was going to be playing for New York, before news reached him that he was on his way to Cleveland.

How is it that Donovan Mitchell didn’t know he wasn’t going to the Knicks?
Nick CammettAFP

While we always knew Mitchell was the next blockbuster trade we’d witness, we certainly didn’t expect him to end up where he did. Apparently, neither did he.

Donovan Mitchell admits he thought he was going to the Knicks

Given that there are likely some Knicks fans, who are still recovering from their team’s failure to land Donovan Mitchell, comments from the guard are probably not going to help. Speaking during his Cleveland Cavaliers introductory press conference, Mitchell was of course asked about the time leading up to his eventual trade from the Jazz to the Cavs. Curiously, he admitted that not only did he not know where he was going to go, but he actually assumed it would be to the New York Knicks.

“Honestly I had no idea. My agent called me on a Wednesday and said ‘You’re going to Cleveland.’ Like I said my reaction was what it was. All summer I didn’t really say much, I kind of just let you guys do what you do to be honest. I thought for sure I was going back home, not gonna lie about that. But when I found out where I was headed, who I was playing with, the group, the team, the coaching staff. I couldn’t be more happier to be here, to be a part of this organization, to be a part of this group, to join these phenomenal guys and add to it. That for me is what I’m truly excited about.” One can understand, that given that Mitchell grew up in Westchester County outside of New York City, it was easy to give gas to the chatter surrounding a possible move back home. There was also the fact that, CAA Sports represents Mitchell and if you’re wondering, that’s the agency that was previously managed by Knicks president Leon Rose. Ultimately, he ended up in Cleveland and to be honest his chances of winning are better for it.

The Cavs are a team Donovan Mitchell is excited to play for

“When I first found out I was golfing, that report was true, and I was running around crazy. Mainly when I figured out who we kept, cause I didn’t know who was in the trade; I just knew I was traded. When I found out we kept DG [Darius Garland] and JA [Jarrett Allen] and Ev [Evan Mobley] and Caris [LeVert] and all these guys I was like, ‘we got a talented group’ -- a team that was third in the East and then obviously injuries came about. That was before I got here and now we can just look to continue to win and build. And I’m truly excited just to be a part of this organization, to be here in this city, to have fun playing basketball, playing with a group of guys who really want to win and really want to continue to build. We’re young, but we’re hungry and we’re ready. It’s weird saying I’m probably one of the older guys on the team.”

Can Donovan Mitchell and the Cavs find success?

Risking a cliche, it could well be that Mitchell is the missing piece of the puzzle for the Cavs. His scoring prowess and ability to control games in the late stages will definitely ease the burden carried by Garland. As for defense, the Cavs have got enough defensive expertise on the roster to cover for any discrepancies on Mitchell’s part. Perhaps the only real question, is just how quickly this extremely talented young core can gel and how far can they go if/when they do? Regardless, we’ve got no doubt that fans and players alike will be keeping an eye on Cleveland as they wait for an answer.