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Why didn’t Cavs’ Donovan Mitchell get traded to the Knicks last summer?

After joining the Cavaliers’ roster, the ex-Jazz player acknowledged that he had presumed he’d be returning to his hometown to play for the New York Knicks.

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland (10) and guard Donovan Mitchell (45)
Ken BlazeUSA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Donovan Mitchell, a shooting guard who previously played for the Utah Jazz, was the subject of trade rumors linking him to the New York Knicks for several months at the end of the last season. Yet, despite the speculation, he ultimately ended up joining the Cleveland Cavaliers thanks to a surprising move by the team, who managed to acquire the three-time All-Star.


In the end, the draft capital demands of the Knicks and Jazz were unable to align, resulting in an impasse between the two teams.

Ultimately, the Knicks kept their picks and held onto their young players, such as RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, and Immanuel Quickley.

Even Mitchell thought he was going to the Knicks

During his introductory press conference with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Donovan Mitchell was asked about the period leading up to his trade from the Utah Jazz to the Cavs. Interestingly, he revealed that he was uncertain about his eventual destination and assumed that he would be traded 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, and 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.

It is understandable that Donovan Mitchell, who grew up in Westchester County just outside of New York City, was the subject of rumors about a potential move back to his hometown. Additionally, it’s worth noting that Mitchell is represented by CAA Sports, formerly led by Knicks President Leon Rose, adding fuel to the speculation.

Donovan Mitchell averaged 28.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 4.4 assists for the Cavs this season, and he is one of the leading responsible players for their excellent results and postseason participation.