“It’s full circle,” the 26-year-old guard said. “You wouldn’t want it any other way. What kid wouldn’t want to play against his hometown team in the playoffs? I think for me, I wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s a storybook ending — it’s not ending, but it’s a storyline. Something that’s really special and near and dear to me, being able to play in a playoff game in front of my friends and family, the team that I grew up watching.”
Despite not having played for the Knicks, the four-time All-Star will surely remain linked with the franchise for a very long time. He was born in New York, and the past offseason saw the Knicks attempt and fail to trade for him.
The Knicks had the opportunity to land a potential superstar last summer when Mitchell became available on the trade market. However, it was Cleveland that won the sweepstakes after it offered Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, Ochai Agbaji and several draft picks. As for New York, some members of the organization reportedly believed that it had the better offer.
But, Mitchell got sent to an organization that has made him happier than he has been since entering the league in 2017. Evidently, the Cavs and their fans are also enthused about having the 6-foot-1 superstar on the roster.
He has thrived in Cleveland, putting up career-highs in points per game (27.9) and field-goal percentage (48.0 percent) to help the team race to a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference.
The University of Louisville product might get his wish of matching up against the Knicks, who currently own the No. 5 spot in the East. Cleveland, who is in fourth place, isn’t likely to catch up to the No. 3 seed Philadelphia 76ers, and New York is comfortably ahead of the No. 6-seeded Brooklyn Nets.
Hopefully, Mitchell’s comments won’t bite come back to bite him when the playoffs arrive because the Cavs lost their regular season series versus the Knicks 1-3. Their latest loss came on Friday, with New York outscoring them 25-14 in the forth quarter to come out with a 130-116 victory.
It seems that the Knicks have the Cavs’ number this season, despite Mitchell recording 31.8 points, 4.8 boards and 7.5 dimes in those four contests.
Clearly, Cleveland has some work to do to increase its chances of embarking on a deep playoff run.