Mitchell is a New York native, and the Knicks had a fairly significant number of potential assets to swap for the three-time All-Star.
Instead, the Jazz sent Mitchell to the Cavaliers for Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen and Ochai Agbaji, three unprotected first-round draft picks in 2025, ’27 and ’29, and two pick swaps in 2026 and ’28. The deal seemed smaller than the one that they could have received from the Knicks, leading to some speculation that Utah refused to deal with New York.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst previously said that New York’s extension of RJ Barrett—a potential centerpiece in a Mitchell-to-Knicks deal—created “an incredible amount of animus between the two organizations.” Utah was also reportedly annoyed at the presence of Knicks brass at a Jazz vs. Mavericks playoff game, with rumors about Mitchell and Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson—who signed with New York this offseason—already in the atmosphere.
Members of the Jazz organization tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe that this did not play into the decision to trade Mitchell to Cleveland rather than New York.
“I’ve seen some report, forgive me I can’t remember who, said ‘Well, the Jazz were upset Donovan Mitchell maybe wasn’t all-in forever with Utah and as punishment we’re going to send him to a place he doesn’t want to go do,’” the analyst said on Wednesday’s episode of The Lowe Post podcast.
“Emotions can play into this. I’ve been assured by the Utah side that, ’No, look, we’re mature people. Yes, we were upset by particularly the Mavs’ game incident, but we’re not going to make decisions based on those kind of things that now happened four months ago or whatever. We’ve made the best deal possible.’”
SNY’s Ian Begley, Lowe’s guest, agreed with the takeaway.
After dealing their two franchise centerpieces, the Jazz look to make a hard reset with a giant tranche of future draft picks, while the Knicks will attempt to continue moving forward with Barrett, Brunson, Quentin Grimes, Julius Randle and the other talented young players they’ve amassed in recent years.
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