“While the Knicks will search elsewhere via the trade market this summer to augment their roster in hopes of taking the next step toward title contention, Mitchell’s status will continue to bear watching over the next two years due to his ongoing flirtation with his hometown team,” wrote the New York Post‘s Peter Botte.
The Cavaliers beat the Knicks for the services of Mitchell prior to the 2022-23 regular season, completing a trade with the Utah Jazz. New York was thought to be an ideal landing spot for Mitchell, who grew up in New York and is a devoted fan of the New York Mets.
After the Cavaliers were eliminated from the playoffs by the Knicks, Mitchell effusively praised the atmosphere at Madison Square Garden. Prior to the series between the teams, the 26-year-old said he was happy to be in Cleveland but was looking forward to playing in front of friends and family in New York.
Botte mentioned the relationship between Mitchell and Knicks associate head coach Johnnie Bryant as one of the driving forces behind a possible acquisition. Bryant was previously on the Jazz’s staff and worked with Mitchell when he arrived in Utah as a first-round pick in 2017.
Mitchell had an outstanding first season with the Cavaliers, with coach J.B. Bickerstaff saying the guard was among the top five players in the NBA. The University of Louisville product admitted he was disappointed in not being named All-NBA First Team after averaging a career-high 28.3 points and helping Cleveland make the playoffs for the first time since 2018.
Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen form a solid supporting cast around Mitchell that should keep the Cavaliers in playoff contention going forward. Mitchell has two seasons plus a player option remaining on his contract, so he could become a free agent in 2025.
It is unknown if the Knicks are willing to wait that long to finally land him. New York is also on the upswing after winning a playoff series for the first time since 2013. Jalen Brunson is coming off an excellent first season in New York, getting tons of support from Julius Randle and RJ Barrett.
“The Knicks will look elsewhere for a roster upgrade this summer, but revisiting a pursuit of Mitchell is something to keep an eye on in the near future,” wrote Botte.
A move by Mitchell to New York certainly would shift the future fortunes of both the Cavaliers and Knicks.