In the end, the cost was too high for Leon Rose’s liking – and given that the Cleveland Cavaliers bartered for Donovan Mitchell’s services, it’s hard to argue. Ainge always pulled from somewhere. Ohio, not New York.
Final cost: 5 draft picks (3 unprotected) and 3 players. For the Knicks, that meant throwing most of their hard-earned capital into the sea. Mitchell is a special player, an All-Star, and even at this high price he can make an argument worth it. It has been adamant that it needs to get better by adding good players.
Mitchell just showed up and would have made the Knicks better.
But we need to step back and ask ourselves. How close did the addition of Mitchell bring the Knicks to their final destination? He’s an elite player, not a top 15 player. He’s a great scorer, but a poor defender. Only 6-foot-1 means the Knicks had one of the smallest backcourt him in his memory.
(if they identify the work)
The truth is, the deal makes more sense for the Cavaliers, who were one of the NBA’s best stories and most feel-good teams last year. They are young and talented, and have already won 44 games despite being injured all the way through the second half of last season. Mitchell won’t make the Cavaliers a title contender, but he could break into the top four in the East (he finished eighth last year).
And even if they did acquire Mitchell and add him to the core lineup of Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, Jalen Branson and Mitchell Robinson, that tenuous conference air would never be a realistic landing for the Knicks. It was a fun team, a better team, probably a 44-48 win team. But the Knicks would still need an alpha dog. 5 (or 6) less useful draft picks.
Thursday was a disappointment. It doesn’t have to be dire.
But it’s really all about Rose now. He chose not to yield to Agee’s demands. But now he has to heed the din of another demanding audience: Knicks fans. There was little unanimity in that they believed they had to go home as soon as possible. Many people did. However, many believed that Rose could not even turn over the store and close the deal.
Rose didn’t sell the store.
But he still collects all these picks on his shelf. What Knicks fans are most fed up with is waiting year after year for Captain Ahab to involve Moby Dick. At some point, Rose either pulls the trigger and makes a deal, gets the superstar to sign his name on a dotted line, or becomes a former savior who’s vaporized at Penn Plaza.
Rose knew all this when she accepted the job. And he also said that his last best offer—reportedly involving two unprotected first-rounders and someone he was hesitant to leave—probably moved Mitchell to New York. I had to know that I wasn’t going to move Ainge to move to.
Therefore, Knicks fans are left with the consoling prize of faith and hope, and it has been almost impossible to have faith or hope as a Knicks fan for the last 20 years. They’re left to believe there’s something better out there, and Rose can not only identify it, but close the deal next time. have not done At some point he has to.
The Knicks have stepped up this summer. The Cavaliers are doing much better now. Donovan Mitchell would have had a hell of a lot of fun, but Rose isn’t in the business of writing fun stories. He has the job of pushing the Knicks into the Eastern his conference pile.
Once again he is back on the clock. Once again Knicks fans are wondering if the now-Captain Ahab can put fish on a damned boat.