Rejoice, Cleveland, you’ve acquired Donovan Mitchell, an All-Star who joins a talented young core that should be a force in the Eastern Conference for years to come.
congratulations new york you No Get Mitchell.
You should be happy about it.
Utah executed its second blockbuster trade in three months on Thursday, sending Mitchell to Cleveland for three first-round picks —unprotected First-round picks — Two pick swaps and a handful of players Jazz CEO Danny Ainge probably doesn’t care too much. Cavaliers have one of the best backcourts in the NBA – LeBron James, in response to a tweet about how tough Mitchell-Darius Garland’s backcourt is, replying “SO TOUGH” – a A long, athletic front and still-solid support lineup with pawns to make the playoffs. The Jazz will practice how to pronounce Wembanyama this season after offloading Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.
Knicks? They should be thankful they stayed out of it. Negotiations between New York and Utah have been going on for weeks, and the Jazz want to extract the same meat from Minnesota and New York, resisting it as much as they can. The Monday deadline imposed by Leon Rose came and went before the Knicks signed RJ Barrett to a long-agreed extension. That opens the door for Cleveland, a surprise finalist last season, to dash and make a deal.
There will be some complaints about the Knicks refusing to meet the Jazz’s price, but seriously — glad they didn’t. It’s not about Mitchell, he’s a terrific player, a better man, a 25-year-old, born in Elmsford, NY, Queens — by virtue of Mitchell’s father, older Novan’s position in the team’s management. Mets – Developed two guards with their best days ahead of them. While Mitchell propelled the Cavaliers to championship level, the cost of the Mitchell trade could set the Knicks back in the long run.
Think about it: What if New York met Angie’s asking price? Barrett is long gone. Multiple first-round picks that Ainge is determined to collect, as well as swap rights, will also be excluded. Will the Knicks be better than the 37-win team that missed the playoffs last season? certainly. Will they suddenly make the playoffs? load Eastern Conference? I’m not so sure.
What would a Mitchell-led Knicks look like? Mitchell Jalen Brunson has an attractive backcourt. At least on offense. But then what? Can you count on Julius Randall’s rebound for a year? Giants leap from Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes? Big year for Mitchell Robinson? something From Cam Reddish?
Here’s the thing, New York: You’re ordinary. Nevermind that the Knicks have been searching for basketball’s panacea for decades, signing mediocre players with bloated contracts and ditching draft picks in ill-advised trades. Eddie Curry’s two lottery picks. Another by Andrea Bargnani. The former front office, often run by unqualified executives or James Dolan’s answerers, looked overly powerful. When Barrett signed his extension this week, he became the Knicks’ first first-round pick of the century to sign an extension.
New York is fine. It’s not as bad as the 41-win team that stunned the NBA during the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season, or the last stumbling sloppy team. But it is developing. The Knicks have Brunson, a budding scorer in Dallas eager to play a bigger role. They have Robinson, the 24-year-old shot-blocker still full of potential. They have Barrett, a 22-year-old forward who just took over and is averaging 20 points per game this season. Is he a franchise player? maybe not. But he’s a 6-foot-6 scorer who shoots 30 percent from 3-point range. He’s inefficient, but those close to Barrett say the offseason spent on his finishing and adding a more graceful off-the-dribble jumper should improve that.
Do not worry. At least there shouldn’t be. The Knicks have good young players. They have a ton of draft picks. If the scouting department does its job — Barrett, Grimes, and even Jericho Sims, the 2021 second-round pick who has played well in summer league, all show That’s it – New York will grow organically. That might give the Knicks more staying power.
So relax, New York. It’s going to be hard to see the Cavaliers next season, seeing Mitchell thrive on a team that should be fighting for a top-five seed, and the Knicks catching up. But that’s the way it is. The Cavs were able to go all out to get Mitchell because of their smart drafting and shrewd trades over the past four years to build a Mitchell-caliber team rather than being a contender. Simply put, the Knicks haven’t.
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