Now that he's settled into his new home with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Donovan Mitchell is looking back at the summer when the Utah Jazz were weighing their options regarding the three-time All-Star.
In an interview with The Athletic's Sam Amick, Mitchell was asked about what the New York Knicks were offering the Jazz during their trade talks.
"I was told it was RJ (Barrett) and hella (draft) picks," Mitchell said. "That’s what I heard. And I thought that was happening. I thought that was it. I’m there (on the East Coast) all offseason. I’m there in the summer."
Mitchell's comments line up with what was being reported over the summer when the Knicks were engaged in trade talks with the Jazz.
Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks and Jazz discussed a deal in early July that would have sent Barrett, Obi Toppin, Mitchell Robinson and three unprotected first-round picks to Utah.
In a different discussion between the sides, the Knicks refused Utah's request to include Quentin Grimes with Barrett. The Jazz were willing to accept a deal with Immanuel Quickley instead of Grimes if the Knicks included three unprotected first-round picks, but New York would only give two unprotected picks, with the third having a top-five protection.
When talks broke down with the Knicks, Utah began looking at other offers. The Cavs got the deal done by giving up Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, unprotected first-round picks in 2025, 2027 and 2029 plus pick swaps in 2026 and 2028.
Speaking to Amick, Mitchell noted he was concerned the Cavaliers were going to have to trade Darius Garland and one of Evan Mobley or Jarrett Allen.
"But when I found out those guys were (not in the deal), it was like, 'All right, we can really do something. Like, we really could do something.' Nothing to slight the guys that were involved in the deal going to Utah," he said. "But for me, it was just like, 'We have the talent.' I said it at the press conference: Our talent is scary, but we’ve got to go out there and do it."
Things have worked out for Mitchell and the Cavs. He is averaging a career-high 31.9 points and 5.8 assists per game with a 51.4 field-goal percentage.
The Cavaliers rank second in the Eastern Conference with an 8-3 record. They rank third in offensive and defensive rating, per Basketball Reference.
Things haven't gone as well for the Knicks after missing out on Mitchell. They enter Friday ranked ninth in the Eastern Conference with a 5-6 record and have the ninth-worst net rating in the NBA (minus-2.4).