A recent report suggests that Cleveland Cavaliers star guard Donovan Mitchell still wants to play in New York.
Howard Beck: "Donovan Mitchell last we checked still wants to play in NY…still kinda the scuttlebutt…
"…clock ticking…important year for Cavs"
Bill Simmons: "…important 1st 3 months…if it doesn't start out great [buzz] will start…I'm convinced he's not long for Cleveland" pic.twitter.com/JAt0mhkU5X
— New York Basketball (@NBA_NewYork) October 21, 2023
Mitchell wanted to be traded to the New York Knicks during the 2022 offseason but was dealt to the Cavaliers instead. Cleveland traded guard Collin Sexton, big man Lauri Markkanen, guard Ochai Agbaji, three first-round picks and two pick swaps in exchange for the 27-year-old.
The guard enjoyed arguably the best season of his pro career during the 2022-23 regular season, his first as a member of the Cavaliers. Across 68 appearances, he averaged 28.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from behind the 3-point line. Mitchell also averaged a career-high 35.8 minutes per game.
Mitchell’s Cavaliers lost to the Knicks in the first round of the 2023 playoffs, though. After the Cavaliers won Game 2 of the series to even things up at one game apiece, they proceeded to lose the next three games of the series.
The University of Louisville product doesn’t deserve all of the blame for the team’s first-round exit, however, seeing as how Cleveland’s frontcourt duo of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley underperformed in the series. But he did score just 23.2 points per game for the series, a far cry from his regular-season average of 28.3 points per game.
After beating Mitchell’s Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs, Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson and the Knicks lost to Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat in six games in the second round. The Heat went on to represent the Eastern Conference in the 2023 NBA Finals.
If the Cavaliers experience a first-round exit once again during the 2024 playoffs, fans should be worried about whether Mitchell will stay in Cleveland for the long haul. After the 2023-24 season, Mitchell will only have one season remaining on his contract before his player option for the 2025-26 season.
If Mitchell ever does want out of Cleveland, expect the Knicks to be in the running to acquire him.