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#pounditSunday, January 29, 2023

Report: Knicks failed to land Donovan Mitchell for 1 key reason

Donovan Mitchell looks on

Jan 16, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks were viewed as the favorites to acquire Donovan Mitchell in a trade all offseason, but the Utah Jazz sent the three-time All-Star to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a blockbuster deal on Thursday. We now have a better idea of why the Knicks missed out.

According to Tony Jones of The Athletic, the Knicks were only willing to part with two unprotected first-round draft picks. Utah had asked for a package headlined by RJ Barrett and three unprotected first-round picks, but the Knicks refused. New York executives reportedly believed when talks broke off that the Jazz would come back and accept the offer, but they were seemingly unaware of how serious the Cavs were about trying to land Mitchell.

Then on Monday, New York agreed to a $120 million rookie extension with Barrett. Sources told Jones that the Jazz were still interested in Barrett even with the new contract in place. That was before Cleveland stepped in and offered three unprotected first-rounders, two first-round pick swaps, Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen and rookie Ochai Agbaji. Utah accepted the offer without giving the Knicks a chance to beat it.

Jones also discussed the Knicks’ failed attempt to acquire Mitchell during a Thursday night appearance on ESPN 700’s “The Drive with Spence Checketts.” He said the Jazz were prepared to accept an offer that would have had people feeling New York won the deal. However, the Knicks reportedly came back with a worse offer. Jones described it as a “complete and utter ego play” by the Knicks.

Knicks fans are not happy that their team could not find a way to land Mitchell. The awkward announcement that came around the same time Mitchell was traded to the Cavs did not make the news any easier for fans in New York to swallow.

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