Donovan Mitchell Rumors: Jazz Didn't Trade Star to Cavs Over Knicks Based on Emotions

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 7, 2022

Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

It seemed like Donovan Mitchell would eventually end up on the New York Knicks for large stretches of the offseason.

Until he didn't.

While the Utah Jazz traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers instead of the major market that is New York, ESPN's Zach Lowe (h/t RealGM) reported the move was not done out of spite.

"I've seen some reports, forgive me I can't remember who, said 'Well, the Jazz were upset Donovan Mitchell maybe wasn't all-in forever with Utah and as punishment we'll send him to a place he doesn't want to go do,'" Lowe said before referencing an incident in which members of the Knicks front office were in the arena for a playoff game between the Jazz and Dallas Mavericks.

"Emotions can play into this," he continued. "I've been assured by the Utah side that 'No, look, we're mature people. Yes, we were upset with particularly the Mavs' game incident, but we're not going to make decisions based on those kind of things that now happened four months ago or whatever. We've made the best deal possible.'"

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported there was a time in July when the Knicks offered a trade package featuring RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, Mitchell Robinson and three unprotected first-round picks to the Jazz for Mitchell.

Yet the two sides never agreed to a deal, and Barrett ended up signing an extension to stay in New York as negotiations were purportedly continuing.

"A wrecking ball hit when the Knicks and Jazz wouldn't come to terms," ESPN's Brian Windhorst (h/t RealGM) previously reported. "I don't know who said no. I don't know if it was the Knicks who said no, or the Jazz who said no. The Knicks went ahead and signed RJ Barrett to a contract extension on Monday.

"That created an incredible amount of animus between the two organizations. I definitely felt it in talking to people over the last 24 hours."

Cleveland ultimately won the Mitchell sweepstakes by sending Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, three first-round draft picks and two pick swaps to the Jazz.

While a previous report from Tony Jones of The Athletic suggested Mitchell wanted to end up on the Knicks, Brooklyn Nets or Miami Heat, he is in a solid spot from a pure basketball perspective with an up-and-coming Cavs squad.

The combination of the three-time All-Star, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen means Cleveland could be a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference after reaching the play-in tournament last season.

The team's ceiling is also higher than a Knicks franchise that has been something of a punchline for two decades with one playoff series win since the 1999-2000 season.


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