It seems as though the connection between Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell and the New York Knicks will never end. The reality is that the Knicks are still major players for him if Cleveland decides to sell at the deadline.
With long-term injuries riddling their roster, including star teammates Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, the Cavaliers will have a difficult decision to make this upcoming trade deadline. Mitchell has one year left on his deal before a player option in 2025, and the expectation has been that he will not be with Cleveland for much longer.
The Cavs have interest in Dejounte Murray
Matt Moore of The Action Network suggested that the Cavs could pivot towards a different star guard, though a slight downgrade, if they end up moving Mitchell.
“One league executive suggested keeping an eye on the Cavaliers in [Dejounte Murray] talks if the Cavs decide they have to move Donovan Mitchell before the final year of his contract,” said Moore.
Murray is an all-star caliber guard with great two-way abilities, but he is a few tiers below Mitchell when it comes to talent level. Such a move would indicate that the Cavs are, to a lesser extent, retooling their roster to build a true title contender.
A Murray pivot for the Cavs could open the door for the Knicks to get Mitchell
Heavy Sports’ Jon Conahan said that if the Cavs go for Murray, who the Knicks have also expressed serious interest in, then that could open the door for the Knicks to swoop in and snag Mitchell, which would give them that superstar talent they’ve been desperately seeking for the past few years.
“If Mitchell does end up getting traded, that’s when Murray would be pursued by Cleveland,” said Conahan. “While the New York Knicks would lose out on Murray, they’d have their main target paired with Jalen Brunson in Mitchell.”
The Knicks are looking to build a championship roster right now
After acquiring OG Anunoby right before the start of the new calendar year, it became increasingly clear that the Knicks are ready to create a championship roster right now and move on from long-term player development.
With the success the Anunoby acquisition has given New York recently, it is no secret that they will look to add more pieces to complete the puzzle. However, while Mitchell has been the Knicks’ biggest target for the larger part of the past two seasons, he will be expensive on the market.
The Knicks do have the draft capital to pull it off, thanks largely to holding onto all of their future first-round picks even after the Anunoby deal. But it could also spell the end for some of the franchise’s key rotational pieces, and without RJ Barrett or Immanuel Quickley to headline a possible deal, it could cost them more draft picks or young players to get one done than it may have before.
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Despite the risks, the Knicks may be willing to take the bait
However, this is the best that the Knicks have looked in over a decade, and their front office will likely want to take advantage of their success and get the franchise to the top of the NBA world as soon as possible. Mitchell could be that guy that gets them there.
In any event, a trade for Mitchell comes with a lot of pros and cons, and if there is any team that has the greatest opportunity to acquire him, it is the Knicks. It is all dependent on what direction the Cavs choose to take this upcoming trade deadline, which could make the Knicks’ chances for Mitchell even greater.
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