NBA insider pours cold water on long-standing rumors linking Donovan Mitchell to New York Knicks

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks reportedly don’t intend to make an all-out pursuit for Cleveland Cavaliers All-NBA guard Donovan Mitchell.

New York shook up its roster recently by trading away RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley (along with a second-round pick) to the Toronto Raptors for O.G. Anunoby, Malachi Flynn and Precious Achiuwa.

“Initial indications are that the Knicks do not intend to mount an all-out pursuit of Donovan Mitchell,” NBA insider Marc Stein wrote. “The Cleveland Cavaliers, for that matter, signaled to rival teams throughout December that they aren’t prepared to entertain Mitchell overtures anyway.”

An NBA source recently revealed that the Cavs have no intention to trade Mitchell this season with Darius Garland and Evan Mobley both expected to return from injuries that have sidelined them recently.

New York has draft capital to pull off a trade for a star, but the team doesn’t have nearly as many young players to move now that Barrett and Quickley are in Toronto. The team’s top trade chip that isn’t Jalen Brunson, Anunoby or Julius Randle may be young guard Quentin Grimes.

It wouldn’t make much sense for Cleveland to trade Mitchell during the 2023-24 campaign, especially since the team is 18-14 and holding the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Cavs have Mitchell under contract for next season, but the star guard could opt out of his contract for the 2025-26 season and become a free agent. Still, Cleveland could wait to move Mitchell in the offseason or during the 2024-25 season.

After making an All-NBA team last season, Mitchell is playing well again in the 2023-24 campaign. He is averaging 28.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game while shooting 46.0 percent from the field and 34.3 percent from beyond the arc.

The Knicks were unable to acquire Mitchell, who has ties to the New York area, prior to the 2022-23 season as the Utah Jazz dealt him to the Cavs.

The Knicks ended up getting the last laugh, knocking the Cavs out of the playoffs last season in the first round in just five games.

Cleveland is hoping for a different outcome in the 2023-24 season, especially if the team holds onto Mitchell and the rest of the roster is able to get healthy for a playoff push.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.