donovan mitchell knicks
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The Knicks made a huge addition to their roster this summer by signing Jalen Brunson to a four-year, $104 million deal. That was great, but the focus recently has been how New York ended up whiffing on trading for Donovan Mitchell, who was acquired by the Cavaliers.

How did this happen? Was finding a match between the Knicks and Jazz doomed from the start? Mitchell, a New York native and big Mets fan, was rumored to prefer getting traded to the Knicks, although he never formally requested such a move. The package of players and picks Utah received from Cleveland didn’t seem as big as the one New York was offering.

Could there have been a few things that put the Jazz and Knicks behind the eight-ball in negotiations? Yes, like a big showing of people associated with New York for a Jazz-Mavericks playoff game.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe said the following things on his podcast this week:

“I’ve seen some report, forgive me I can’t remember who, said ‘Well, the Jazz were upset Donovan Mitchell maybe wasn’t all-in forever with Utah and as punishment we’re going to send him to a place he doesn’t want to go to.’”

He then added the following:

“Emotions can play into this. I’ve been assured by the Utah side that, ’No, look, we’re mature people. Yes, we were upset by particularly the Mavs’ game incident, but we’re not going to make decisions based on those kind of things that now happened four months ago or whatever. We’ve made the best deal possible.’”

There’s probably some (or a lot of) truth to that second statement. But then here comes Charles Barkley with an RKO outta nowhere to stir the pot once again:

So, did they or didn’t they? We’ll probably end up talking about this in circles for the rest of eternity. This is just the cherry on top of a not-so-great week of news for Knicks fans, too.

Earlier in the week, the New York Post ran a story where Jeff Van Gundy shared his thoughts on the organization’s outlook for the upcoming season. As you can imagine, it wasn’t great. The former coach did say some nice things about the players currently on the Knicks’ roster. However, he also said this squad isn’t a lock to reach the NBA’s play-in round, mentioning “A lot has to go right”.

One of the things Van Gundy thinks the Knicks need? A top-tier guy on the floor that can have a team built around him…like Mitchell. Woof. According to Sports Betting Dime, the Knicks’ odds of making the playoffs out of the Eastern Conference this year is currently set at +130. So, things will have to go right for them in the coming months to find success.

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Matt Musico can be reached at and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.