The New York Knicks are "shocked and disappointed" that the Cleveland Cavaliers swept in and traded for former Utah Jazz shooting guard Donovan Mitchell via trade, per Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Berman also reported that the Knicks, who were connected to Mitchell in trade talks for months, didn't get an opportunity to make their best offer to Jazz president Danny Ainge before he took the Cavaliers' package.
Berman also reported that it wasn't a coincidence the Knicks signed RJ Barrett to a four-year contract extension and announced it before the Cavaliers-Mitchell news broke.
One NBA source said the Knicks preferred to wait until October or even restricted free agency next July to sign Barrett.
However, the ultimate Knicks preference was to deal Barrett in a Mitchell trade.
"They didn't want to pay RJ now, they like RJ but he's not one of their guys," an NBA source told Berman. "The preference was to trade him in a Donovan deal. A few weeks ago, if they got Donovan without Barrett in the deal, they weren’t going to pay RJ now."
In the end, though, the Knicks stuck with Barrett after finding out the Cavs had the edge on them in the Mitchell trade race.
"They had to do something," a source told Berman.
The Knicks reportedly believed they could trade for Mitchell sans Barrett by improving their draft capital offer, but the Jazz-Cavs talks progressed to such a point that the "Knicks couldn’t get back in control of their own destiny," per Berman.
New York has to move on without Mitchell. Although losing out on a three-time All-Star who routinely scores 25 or more points per game stings, the Knicks would have had to pay a steep price for him.
The Knicks have exciting young players (e.g. Barrett, Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley) and all of their future first-round picks, which puts them in position for success in the future. For now, Jalen Brunson is the Knicks' biggest position, and he puts them in a better spot to compete for the playoffs after the team missed out last year.