Are the Knicks Better Off Without Donovan Mitchell?

Ok, so maybe Leon Rose could have been Prepare the best deal for Donovan Mitchell. However, in the end he didn’t.

Knicks president Set a Monday night deadline The Jazz finally agreed to send three-time All-Star Mitchell to New York. Report different about what will happen title Back to Utah: RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes, two unprotected first-round picks, a top-five protected future priority (likely from the Bucks), multiple second-round picks, And maybe an unlimited-ride subway card. When the deadline came and went, Rose walked out of the negotiating table, signed Barrett to a four-year, nine-figure extension, and sat down, believing that Jazz CEO Danny Ainge was in A more desirable trade leading to training camp won’t be found for a few weeks.

But Rose’s step back open the door Cleveland — recently considered outside the Mitchell sweepstakes — stepped back and made an offer to make Mitchell the Cavaliers. What a great proposal this is: Three unprotected first-round picks in 2025, 2027 and 2029and the right to trade first-round picks with Cleveland 2026 and 2028together with a Sign a deal Collin Sexton, 4/3 Lauri Markkanen and soon-to-be rookie Ocha Agbagi, who the Cavaliers just selected with the 14th overall pick in June.

Three unprotected picks, plus everything else. That’s the price the Cavaliers paid for Mitchell — if not more than what Utah got from Minnesota for Rudy Gobert, then close to it — and, ultimately, the Knicks see it as a blow to their blood. Talk about being too rich.

according to many ReportRoss won’t end up offering more than two unprotected firsts in a deal featuring Barrett. He may refuse to include second-year shooting guard Grimes in any package. He insisted on top-five protection for the third pick as part of a larger proposal suggested by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that would pull in the third team to absorb the remaining two years and $36.9 million of Evan Fournier’s contract. He’s sticking to the hard line, betting that Mitchell’s market is soft enough that he can get the deal done without giving up the best. Ainge and Jazz general manager Justin Zanick bet they could get their favorite pick elsewhere.

Utah’s bet paid off; New York didn’t. As a result, the Knicks still hold all of their chips from September, but they left to find a new game. Whether you think it’s a major disaster or a minor discomfort may depend on how well you rate Mitchell, a soon-to-be 26-year-old shot-creation engine who can credibly claim to be the top 10 Offensive players are one of the players on the planet, but they also bring defensive and playmaking lapses that any potential contender will have to contend with.

If you think Mitchell is the kind of scoring force that can pull the Knicks out of the bottom half of the league for the first time in nine years in offensive efficiency, giving New York enough firepower to continue competing in the playoffs, then Just missing him on a puny draft pick seems like a grave mistake — a sensible but foolish idea that overvalues ​​theoretical future prospects at the expense of tangible present-tense talent.

If you think of Mitchell as a diminutive defensive responsibility and sometimes mechanical playmaker whose weaknesses make him a second-tier All-Star — closer to the NBA’s 25th best player than the top 10 — then Choosing not to relinquish control of your next five drafts is not laziness or dereliction of duty for him. This is exercising restraint and discipline. It sticks to a plan that Rose has made since taking the reins at Madison Square Garden in March 2020, which he cited after the rotation and trade on draft night that gave New York enough money to sign Jalen Bren from the Mavericks Sen.

“Our focus will remain on being strategic and thoughtful in team building,” Ross wrote in a statement after the draft. “Doing things the right way while taking advantage of the momentum from the end of last season and prioritizing our player development program.”

Rational thoughts may vary on how much New York should put in for a 12-11 record and the sixth-best net rating in the East after the All-Star break. If nothing else, though, there seems to be a consistent straight-through thread between Rose’s message and his actions in the Mitchell negotiations: If you don’t leave, even the next move won’t make you leave, then don’t success. Hold low and build. You know, like the Cavaliers.

Cleveland already has a core that includes under-25 All-Stars Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen, as well as 21-year-old prodigy Evan Mobley. By contrast, it’s easier for the Cavaliers to look at what’s going on in the East — by the way, in a conference where they were two games away from leading the All-Star Game and then a spate of injuries — and consider themselves staying away from the debate a great addition. You have to squint really hard to see what’s left of New York after a blockbuster trade – Mitchell, Brunson, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson and whatever remains on the roster The starting five of the wide players — then look at similar contenders.If, as many predicted, the purpose of having Mitchell on MSG was to convince Next Stars (whoever it may be) join him, and the Knicks’ draft picks are blocked for the next five years, with $100 million in 2023-24 for Mitchell, Randle, Brunson and Robinson’s foursome, and no young player Utah would have picked for Mitchell would have enough money to make a deal like this?

Maybe the answer is yes.maybe, as Tony Jones sports tweet on thursday, the Knicks could have done the trade without sacrificing Grimes or 2020 lottery pick Obitoppin, while still controlling one of their future first-round picks and the amount they stockpiled in previous trades Four other picks. Maybe that’s enough to get them into the next round of star conversations. Perhaps, combined with the core of Mitchell’s leadership still in place, the Knicks’ 50-win win for the second time this millennium would be enough.

Then again, if those players and protected picks aren’t enough to get Knicks Mitchell, which star is worth the money Will their net?How likely are they to trap players better one Instead of Mitchell – an ostensibly “first star brings second star” thought experiment? Will the final lineup stand a chance of contending for a championship — or, in a few years, will the Knicks find themselves with the same good but not great second-round ceiling that the Jazz Mitchells can’t reach? breakthrough? Given how desperate New York has been for 20 years, is the mere possibility of breaking that ceiling enough to pull the trigger?

Rose and his lieutenants apparently didn’t think the answers to those questions would be convincing enough to make the deal the Jazz could have done. So now, after all the intrigues and rumors and innuendos, the Knicks are back to where they were in early July: having a ton of draft picks, preaching patience and player development, trying to figure out how good they can be and how they Use what they already have to get better. (By the way, depending on whether you asked New York’s executives or its head coach, the answer might be different.)

Even though the Knicks finished last season 37-45, if you subtract the minutes Kemba Walker gave Kemba Walker in an ill-fated experiment in the first month of the season, they’re actually every 100 non-players. Garbage time offense outscored opponent by 3 points.to clean glass, its defensive rating tied for fourth all season. For what it’s worth, that +3 net rating is better than the Knicks have had in 2020-21, when they won 41 games and surprisingly finished first in the East. 4 seeds. Perhaps, given all of this, the Knicks executives would have reason to want to see if a healthy version of the roster, with Brunson providing a playmaking bump to help Randle recover and boost Barrett, is enough to produce a team capable of Compete for the top teams – six points.

Question: This is a horrible Ask hard in the East today. Barring injuries, of last season’s top six, only Chicago seemed like a good bet. (That voice you just heard was DeMar DeRozan offering an impossible mid-range dagger as a rebuttal.) No. 7 Brooklyn, after all not trading Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving, might actually get Ben Simon s play. Eighth-place Atlanta and ninth-place Cleveland just traded All-Star guards.

Mitchell’s Knicks may not be able to make the top six in the East; however, as things stand, the Knicks may even struggle to make the top 10 for the playoffs. The prospect of changing the constitution brings us back to the question of the coach versus the front office.

Rose is reluctant to part ways with the Knicks’ young players and has said he’s focused on internal development, a sign that he sees the likes of Barrett, Grimes, Toppin and Quickley playing bigger roles in the future. Tom Thibodeau’s well-known penchant for veterans — a thinness that has led to Randle playing more minutes than any other player in the NBA over the past two seasons, and Toppin only 14 times in that span. More than 24 minutes in a game — an indication that he is, at best, reluctant to offer those opportunities when he has longer resume options. If the “wait and see if adding Brunson is enough” approach doesn’t work out, Rose may have to… eliminate Some options for Thibs, like Billy Beane once did with Art Howe?

(I’m suddenly sad because we’ll never see Philip Seymour Hoffman play Tom Thibodeau again.)

Rose still has the flexibility and options to pursue other moves — say, attaching a pick to move Randle or Fournier to free up more minutes for Toppin or Grimes, for Bren Sen and Barrett provide more ball possession; he also has a head coach who might challenge him if he’s in table, ladder and chair games. He still has a star to trade — though if he doesn’t think Mitchell is worthy of all-out effort, he might find himself waiting a long time to find a good fit. (Expect to hear Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s name discussed loudly among Knicks fans and media types.)

Caution may be the better part of courage; however, on a long enough timeline, it looks a lot like doing nothing. The waiting is the hardest part, especially in an East that gets tough every moment, but for better or worse, Rose seems content to stick to his plan. Knicks fans can only hope that’s right and that his — and their — patience will eventually pay off.

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