Donovan Mitchell trade: Knicks whiff on another star, but RJ

Donovan Mitchell was traded, seemingly out of the blue, to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday, and the low-hanging fallout story for the New York Knicks goes to be putting out on one more famous person pursuit. It’s not an unreasonable takeaway. The Knicks finally have to really hook considered one of these massive fish they’re at all times trolling after. 

But the unsuitable deal can influence a franchise simply as considerably as the proper one. Of all the celebrities the Knicks have, to various levels, pursued of late, are we certain Mitchell would’ve been the proper one to land? 

First, are we certain Donovan Mitchell is a famous person? He’s excellent. On offense. He’s confirmed himself as a big-time playoff performer, and that has to matter an important deal. But a Mitchell-Jalen Brunson backcourt sounds awfully small and defensively weak. If the Knicks had given up RJ Barrett in a deal to amass Mitchell, plus both Quentin Grimes or a 3rd protected future first-round decide, which was reportedly what Utah needed, it might’ve largely hindered their capacity to chase one other All-Star down the road.

So if a Knicks roster that features Mitchell is nearer to a completed product, how good is a Mitchell-Brunson pairing, notably with out the dimensions and defensive help of a Barrett? In that scenraio, you higher hope Julius Randle morphs again into an All-Star, and even then you definitely’re most likely taking a look at a lower-end playoff workforce, at finest, in a very stacked Eastern Conference. 

The deal Utah acquired from Cleveland — Collin Sextion, Lauri Markannen, 2022 No. 14 total decide Ochai Agbaji, three unprotected first-round picks and the proper to 2 future decide swaps — is a greater deal that New York was prepared to supply, which, accrording to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, was as follows:

When guard Immanuel Quickley was proposed as a substitute for Grimes within the commerce, Utah needed three unprotected first-round draft picks as a part of the package deal — however New York would solely do a 3rd first-round decide that included top-five protections, sources stated. Those packages would’ve included two second-round picks, two decide swaps and two expiring contracts from a 3rd workforce, sources stated. New York would’ve moved out Evan Fournier and first-round decide to a 3rd workforce to spare Utah taking up Fournier’s remaining $37 million, sources stated.

Danny Ainge is a licensed thief in these negotiations, and New York was, to me, sensible to not give in. Again, Mitchell is de facto good. But how good? While the value of his acquisition would not have emptied New York’s basket (it has eight trade-eligible future picks), it might’ve left solely three future picks — of debatable worth — with which to enter future commerce talks, and Oklahoma City and Houston are seemingly a number of years away from being able to mud everybody else’s presents. 

Tp be clear, I’m not saying the Knicks would’ve been unequivocally misguided to go all-in on Mitchell. New York reportedly believed {that a} Brunson-Mitchell duo would’ve attracted one other star. That’s debatable, as is whether or not the Knicks would’ve had the sources so as to add that third star even when one had emerged as a goal. 

Ultimately, had the Knicks been capable of hold Barrett, I might’ve been in help of including extra unprotected picks to get Mitchell. I feel Barrett can grow to be an All-Star, and there is your Big 3 if Brunson seems to be an All-Star-level participant. If he does not, you possibly can package deal him with the leftover picks for a high-level substitute to pair with Mitchell and Barrett. Or you possibly can commerce Barrett. This would’ve been sufficient wiggle room to nonetheless really feel snug. 

But giving up Barrett and a bunch of unprotected picks was a bridge too far. Mitchell is not that nice. When the frustration of whiffing on one other star subsides, Knicks followers will, or ought to, see that they are in a fairly good place transferring ahead. Brunson is probably an overpay, we’ll see, however he is an excellent participant and he takes the ball out of Randle’s monopolizing palms. Barrett now has time to proceed growing, and most significantly, these eight future trade-eligible drafts picks are nonetheless within the holster. 

Throw in a possible large cap spike in 2025, when the brand new TV deal is ready to kick in, and New York is also a number of years away from having one thing near max house. At that time, Brunson can have a participant choice. If he is value it, you prolong him. If not, he turns into a commerce piece. That’s referred to as flexibility, which, to me, is healthier than depleting your asset pool and overextending your self for Mitchell simply to be a No. 6 seed. 

I’ll reiterate this one final time: Reasonable minds can disagree on this stance I’ve taken. The Knicks should get a real star in some unspecified time in the future, and Mitchell is a star. He’s not a famous person, in my view, however he is a legit star. If you suppose the Knicks ought to’ve given up extra unprotected picks and/or Barrett and figured the remaining out later, particularly with Houston and OKC lurking as trade-trumping monsters a number of years from now, that is comprehensible. It’s not the place I fall, however this is not a clear-cut state of affairs. This was a troublesome name both method. Only time will inform if the Knicks selected proper. 

One thought on “Donovan Mitchell commerce: Knicks whiff on one other star, however RJ Barrett and future flexibility was value extra”
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