The idea that Donovan Mitchell will eventually leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and someday play for the New York Knicks will not go away, and former Mitchell teammate Joe Ingles is the latest to say it’s going to happen.
“This is like non-bias, no outside info, I think he’ll play for New York one day, whether that’s sooner or later,” Ingles said. “I think it would be great for New York and I think it would be great for him. Whether or not that actually happens we’ll wait and see.”
The Cavs acquired Mitchell in a trade prior to last season, and his first year in Cleveland was quite successful, with a 51-win regular season landing the team’s first playoff berth since 2018. But it ended in disappointing fashion with a five-game loss in the first round to, ironically, the Knicks.
Ever since Mitchell’s arrival, Cavaliers players, executives and fans have been unable to escape the idea that he will return to his home state of New York at some point to play for the Knicks. That scenario gained some additional fuel after the playoff loss when the guard gushed about the “jumping” atmosphere at Madison Square Garden during the series.
Despite the belief held by Cleveland executive Koby Altman that Mitchell “wants to win here,” the 27-year-old is not yet ready to agree to a contract extension that would secure his future with the Cavs for the long term.
That lack of an official commitment has allowed the rumor mill to run rampant at times, even extending to teams other than the Knicks. A recent report linked Mitchell to the Philadelphia 76ers as a possible addition after they rid themselves of James Harden.
Even though the Knicks shied away from acquiring Mitchell from the Jazz because they were unsure if he could carry a team on his own, famous NBA observer Bill Simmons said that Mitchell winding up in New York is the “worst kept secret” in the NBA.
All of this is already possibly seeping into the Cavaliers’ chemistry, with former NBA player Paul Pierce recently questioning the relationship of Mitchell and teammate Darius Garland. It might not be the full explanation for Cleveland’s underwhelming 2-3 start to this season, but it can’t be helping either.