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First thoughts after Knicks trade offer for Donovan Mitchell falls through

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The Knicks trade offer we all thought was going to happen, didn’t. From WOJ to Shams, the belief was Donovan Mitchell was going to the New York Knicks. For the last month, the conversation was not where he would go, but what the Knicks would give in return. Proves that insiders don’t know anymore than the rest of us.

This is brain dump of the trade and what just transpired. Here are my first thoughts on the deal that consumed so much of our collective minds.

The final deal for Donovan Mitchell

From the bright lights of New York City to Cleveland, Donovan Mitchell becomes a Cavalier. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cavaliers are sending the Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen, rookie wing Ochai Agbaji (the Cavs 2022 draft lottery pick), guard Collin Sexton, three unprotected first-round picks (2025, 2027 and 2029) and two pick swaps (2026 and 2028) for Mitchell, sources said.

Danny Ainge got his 3 unprotected picks that the Knicks were not willing to give up in this trade.

What was the Knicks best trade offer?

There are many conflicting statements about the exact best Knicks trade offer. From the many media reports, the best offer included:

  • RJ Barrett
  • Immanuel Quickley or Quentin Grimes
  • Evan Fournier
  • 2 unprotected first round picks
  • Top-4 protected first round pick from Milwaukee
  • 2 pick swaps

This are many other combinations of picks that have been reported but this seems to be the most legitimate. Other reports suggest Barrett, Obi Toppin and Mitchell Robinson were included in an offer in July.

The Utah Jazz may have saved the Knicks from themselves in this deal.

Thoughts on the trade

Knicks made the right move

For the Knicks to match this package from Cleveland, they would have needed to include Barrett, Quickley, Grimes, Fournier and the 3 unprotected picks and pick swaps. The Knicks could not have done this deal.

A Knicks trade including the core of the team is worthless. Yes, the Knicks would have Donovan Mitchell, but his running mate would be Julius Randle, with no assets remaining to acquire additional pieces to accompany him. Sometimes the deal not done is the best deal you can make. This feels like the case for the Knicks here.

For the most part, I think Knicks fans are happy to move on from this trade. They break the curse and for the first time since 1994, sign a first round draft pick. The real fans of the city appreciate the player development of this young core and are excited to see what they bring next season.

Cleveland become a top 4 team

With Mitchell, the Knicks would be no better than a play in team. In Cleveland, they keep their core unit. Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen and Isaac Okoro, alongside Mitchell are a formidable unit. This team has top 4 potential in the Eastern Conference and a young core that will continue to improve.

The Cavaliers will remain a strong team for the foreseeable future. Now with Mitchell locked for another three years, it is hard to see this team taking the tumble that would make the picks they traded super valuable.

Cleveland make the deal to take them to the next level. A great trade for them!

Utah Jazz stockpile assets

Danny Ainge needed to move on from Mitchell before training camp begun. With their new coach starting his tenure, the media focus surrounding Donovan Mitchell would have been a major distraction for the team.

The Jazz now has 13 unprotected or lightly protected first-round picks through 2029 and two 2022 first-round picks, including Kansas’ Agbaji and 7-footer Walker Kessler, who arrived with four first-round picks from Minnesota, per Wojnarowski for ESPN.

Some thoughts about the Jazz return. They come away with a haul and continue to stack their picks, which is ultimately what they wanted. It is a good deal for them in that sense, however, I fail to see these picks culminating into any real value for the Jazz. They receive the 2025, 2027 and 2029 unprotected first round picks, with pick swaps in 2026 and 2028. With Donovan Mitchell and the youth on that team, it is hard to see these becoming anymore than late first round picks.

Looking at this deal, I like the Knicks 2 unprotected first rounders better than the Cavaliers 3 unprotected picks. They are more likely to result in high end lottery picks. Even if Mitchell leaves, the Cavs core will be good enough to avoid the lottery in the later years.

The Jazz still have valuable assets that could culminate into even more picks. Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic are still members of the Jazz. Expect the rebuilding Jazz to be potential number 1 pick contenders for the foreseeable future. A fanbase that has come to expect success will now need to accept mediocrity.

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