NBA Insider: New York Knicks ‘obsessed with softball’ on Donovan Mitchell’s trade talk News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, Rumors

Donovan Mitchell (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via G)etty Images

The Knicks had an opportunity to get a young, marketable All-Star named Donovan Mitchell, who specifically wanted to go to New York, but the team turned down draft consideration.

“They whistled at softball,” an NBA source said. “He thought the Knicks were bidding against them. [Cleveland] The Cavaliers want difference. ”

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cavaliers and Utah Jazz will have five first-round picks on Thursday (three unprotected, two swapped), Ochai Agbaj (No. 14 in June’s draft) and Colin • Sexton (sign and trade) and Lauri Markkanen. That’s a fair amount for the rebuilding Jazz, and the Knicks would have had to pay a heavy price to beat them.

“Who are they saving picks for?” asked one player agent. “[The Knicks] I really don’t have the patience to build a draft. Are they getting someone better than Donovan?”

Not only do the Knicks have all seven first-round picks, but the franchise has four additional picks in various protections from the Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks and Washington Wizards. Couldn’t New York, with eight picks and him three possible swaps, spend more money than the Cavaliers?

I’m not saying New York should give it all to Utah, but the Knicks should have found a compromise with the Jazz to outpace Cleveland’s generous offer.

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Perhaps team principal Leon Rose really believed that no one else was running. For context, the Knicks were willing to trade draft considerations to minimize playoff success. The franchise changed tactics when Phil Jackson took over and stayed true to that philosophy through multiple front office changes. , Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes and more quality players and prospects were born.

However, that group failed to make it to the postseason after the Knicks qualified for the 2020-21 playoffs. As one of the NBA’s premier franchises (due to popularity), the team suffers from a lack of star power. The Knicks have their hopes on Kevin Durant, almost 34, if not Mitchell, and are reconsidering his trade request? would you consider sending him to a crosstown rival?

Mitchell, 25, was a bird of the hand. Not that the Knicks weren’t interested. Wojnarowski details negotiations on players such as Barrett, Quickly, and draft considerations, as well as various obstacles.

“Utah wanted three unprotected first-round draft picks as part of the package,” Wojnarowski wrote. “New York will only make a third first-round pick that includes top-five protection.”

Is that the line Nicks drew in the sand?

“New York was going to keep pursuing Mitchell,” Wojnarowski continued. “But the Jazz turned to the Cleveland argument and never negotiated with New York again…Mitchell was keen to play for the Knicks.”

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Agent ties can affect player movement, but Mitchell is a cautionary tale. So are Julius Randle and Toppin. Before joining the Knicks, Rose was also the CAA’s primary basketball agent.

Fair or not, others in the league refer to the franchise as the “CAA Knicks.”

That bond may have led to overconfidence. Or maybe less complicated than that. Perhaps Knicks honestly felt the price was too high.

All-Stars go at market rates, and just like in our world, inflation is a reality. Dating back to the trade of Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Los Angeles Lakers, and Rudy Gobert’s recent Minnesota Timberwolves/Jazz blockbuster, the price of the league’s best talent is skyrocketing.

The Knicks are one of the few rebuilt teams with an abundance of picks. An argument can be made that New York shouldn’t be built around his 6’1-inch backcourt duo of Mitchell and Branson.

If there’s good news for struggling Knicks fans, the team kept the powder dry. The team still has the means to make transformative deals. The challenge is finding that opportunity. Top talent rarely makes it into his NBA. When that time comes, New York would be better off not overplaying their hand again.

Email Eric Pincus to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter. @Eric Pincus.

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