Stephen A. on Donovan Mitchell Trade to Cavs: 'Nothing Ever Gets Done' With Knicks

Erin WalshSeptember 1, 2022

Utah Jazz's Donovan Mitchell warms up before Game 6 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, Thursday, April 28, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith isn't happy about the Donovan Mitchell trade.

The Utah Jazz sent Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday in exchange for Lauri Markkanen, 2022 14th pick Ochai Agbaji, Collin Sexton, three unprotected first-round picks and two pick swaps, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Mitchell had been linked to the New York Knicks for months, but the franchise was unwilling to meet Danny Ainge's asking price, and now Smith is letting the franchise know how he feels about the lack of a deal.

"You got about seven or eight first-round picks. You got RJ Barrett. You got Julius Randle. You got [Obi] Toppin. You got Immanuel Quickley. And you still couldn't get Donovan Mitchell. You still couldn't get him.

"... They make me sick. Nothing ever gets done in New York with the Knicks. Nothing. ... It just never ends with the Knicks."

Stephen A Smith @stephenasmith

These are the F$&amp;@ Knicks! This is what always happens! <a href="https://t.co/F7HShDVpOS">pic.twitter.com/F7HShDVpOS</a>

The Knicks were viewed as the favorites to land Mitchell because they could have offered the Jazz the best combination of picks and players.

However, the franchise was reportedly "turned off" by Ainge's trade demands, which reportedly included a package of seven first-round picks, in addition to players, per Marc Berman of the New York Post.

The Knicks had eight tradable first-round picks but were unwilling to meet Ainge's request in fear of not being able to contend both now and in the future.

New York was aggressive in its pursuit of Mitchell but "temporarily walked away on talks on Monday night," per Wojnarowski, and the Cavaliers "aggressively pursued" the superstar guard before landing him.

"New York had the assets Utah preferred and the sides seemed to be inching closer to a trade Sunday night and into Monday, but the Knicks balked on including Quentin Grimes in a trade with RJ Barrett to acquire Mitchell, sources said," Wojnarowski wrote.

The Knicks proposed a deal including Quickley instead of Grimes, but the Jazz wanted three unprotected first-round draft picks as part of that sort of package, per Wojnarowski. The Knicks would have only wanted to include a third first-round pick that included top-five protections in such a deal.

Mitchell is the latest superstar New York has lost out on, and some fans are becoming irritable with the franchise failing to land the type of player that can help it get over the hump and make a deep postseason run.

In 2010, the Knicks made a run at LeBron James, but he opted to sign with the Miami Heat. Then in 2019, the Knicks were interested in adding Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, but the duo opted to join the cross-town rival Brooklyn Nets.

The franchise added Jalen Brunson this summer, but he's not the high-end type player fans were hoping for.

The Knicks haven't made a deep playoff run since they reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2000. They've also just made the playoffs twice in the last ten seasons, and it seems like they could miss the cut again in 2022-23 as teams in the East continue to get better.