The New York Knicks are reportedly concerned adding Donovan Mitchell wouldn't bring them quite the level of long-term improvement they are looking for as they attempt to build a contender.
Marc Berman of the New York Post reported some with the team believe trading for Mitchell would lead to a 10-win improvement after going 37-45 last season. While that would be quite an uptick for the Knicks, they are reportedly concerned giving up too many assets would prevent them from making another necessary move for New York to become a true title contender.
"Getting from 47 wins to 57 wins—that’s harder than 37 to 47," a coaching source told Berman.
While Berman also reported "the Knicks were turned off by Utah team president Danny Ainge's initial demands, when he asked in July for a package of seven first-round picks and players," discussions have apparently been renewed at this stage.
New York may not want to give up that many draft picks, but landing a star like Mitchell is going to be expensive.
He is a three-time All-Star who averaged 25.9 points, 5.3 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from deep last season. He is also a proven playoff performer, as evidenced by his career 28.3 points per game mark in the postseason.
Throw in the fact Mitchell is under contract through 2024-25 with a player option for 2025-26, and New York would have some time for a roster, with the Jazz star, Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle and others to come together, assuming the latter trio remain in any trade.
In an ideal world for the Knicks, the chance to play alongside Mitchell on the stage New York provides could convince free agents to come for slightly less than they would make elsewhere.
Still, giving up so many assets to build a team with a realistic second-round ceiling is understandably a reason for concern even if Mitchell would be the franchise's biggest star since Carmelo Anthony.
Whether the Knicks decide to do so remains to be seen, but the franchise last reached the 47-win mark in 2012-13. Before that, the most recent 47-win season came in 2000-01, meaning the Knicks have reached the level they are concerned isn't high enough just one time in the past two-plus decades.
That is the equation the front office has to consider as discussions with the Jazz unfold.