Donovan Mitchell 'Happy as Hell to Be' with Cavs After Offseason Knicks Trade Rumors

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVDecember 5, 2022

NEW YORK, NY -  DECEMBER 4: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Cleveland Cavaliers warms up before the game against the New York Knicks on December 4, 2022 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE  (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Donovan Mitchell might have wanted to play for the Knicks, but he's perfectly happy with where he's at.

Mitchell played in front of a Madison Square Garden crowd on Sunday for the first time since the Knicks' failed pursuit of their hometown star, saying it's nice to play in front of family but he's glad to be a Cavalier.

“I think more so playing in front of my family and friends,” Mitchell told reporters. “What’s done is done, and I’m happy as hell to be where I’m at. At the end of the day, this decision was made and I don’t think I’ve been happier since I’ve been in the league. But I think for me it’s always going to be motivation to come back and play well in my hometown, but you could say that about anybody. But with what happened this summer, it’s over with, it happened and I’m happy to be with the Cavaliers.”

The three-time All-Star finished with 23 points, five assists and four rebounds in Cleveland's 92-81 loss. Mitchell finished with an ugly 8-of-22 shooting line as the Cavs shot just 34.9 percent from the floor.

The Knicks spent the offseason as the overwhelming favorite to land Mitchell in a trade with the Utah Jazz. They ultimately balked as Utah's asking price and Cleveland swooped in to make a shocking blockbuster.

“Who doesn’t want to be home, next to their mom,” Mitchell told reporters in September when asked if he wanted to play for the Knicks. “I haven’t lived at home since I was in the eighth grade and I went to boarding school, so it would have been nice.”

From a basketball perspective, Mitchell's move to the midwest has paid off. The Cavs are 15-9 and sit in third place in the Eastern Conference, while the Knicks are languishing as the No. 10 seed at 11-13.