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Donovan Mitchell Came Out Today And Admitted Even He Thought He Was Headed To The Knicks

Sarah Stier. Getty Images.

I don't know about anyone else, but it's going to take my brain some time to get used to seeing Donovan Mitchell rock the Cavs burgundy and gold. Whenever there's a player who has only worn one jersey for their entire career and then gets traded/signs with a new team in free agency, it always takes me a while to get used to it. It was weird to see Kemba in a Celts jersey for example, it was even weirder to see Tony Parker in a Hornets jersey. Considering all we've ever seen Mitchell wear is Jazz colorways, it'll take some getting used to.

It has to be a pretty awesome feeling to get off a private jet right into a shit ton of people showing you love and welcoming you to your new city, but that's to be expected. Cavs fans should be excited about what has now entered their life. But what stood out to me most about Donovan Mitchell's introduction to the Cavs was what he had to say about a deal that in fact never happened

I've always been fascinated about what these guys think while their names are being thrown around in trade rumors, especially a player of Mitchell's caliber. As it turns out, he was basically just like the rest of us. The second we all got that Woj notification of the Gobert trade, the next thing we all said was "where is Donovan going to go?". It wasn't a matter of if, but more when and where. I found it interesting that he didn't see that situation as something where the Jazz were trading Rudy only to then reinvest even more in a team built around Mitchell, but instead that his days were probably numbered. There was a thought to start the offseason that the Jazz had to pick between the two, and instead they decided to rip the bandaid completely off and go the full rebuild route.

When it came to the Knicks, you often hear players give a boilerplate answer when they're asked about specific teams, especially when a deal falls apart. Something along the lines of 

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"Oh it doesn't matter where I was going to be traded, I just want to go somewhere that wants me"

but that's not the case here with what Mitchell said. It's pretty clear he would have loved to go to the Knicks. I think you can feel that way while also still being happy you're a Cavalier instead. The entire world thought eventually the Jazz and Knicks would figure their stuff out and pull the trigger. The Knicks weren't exactly quiet about their interest in Mitchell even dating back to last season, and he obviously wasn't quiet about how much he likes New York. It felt like one of those deals that made too much sense for everybody to not do. 

If you're a Knicks fan, maybe hearing him talk like that stings a little bit, but I don't think it should. It's OK to be firm and not allow Danny Ainge to get the best of you. If you felt like you were overpaying for a player, it's OK to not move forward with it. I actually think the Knicks were smart to stand firm, even though it ended up losing them Mitchell to another team in the conference. I can promise you he is not the last really good young guard that will be on the trade market. You never know what can happen in the NBA, and when you are in the stage of a rebuild that they are, flexibility is important. You have to be smart and resist the temptation of a big name player if the deal doesn't make sense for the direction of your franchise. As long as you have a plan (and it seems like the Knicks do as of now), it's not a bad thing to stick to that plan, even if fans might be upset in the short term. Plus, you never know what Mitchell might be thinking once his current deal is up in a few years.

What I do know is from now on, all Cavs/Knicks games are going to be must watch, especially the ones at MSG. I'm pretty sure Mitchell is going to do his best to show the Knicks what they're missing which should certainly be fun. I'm also really excited to see what he looks like playing next to Darius Garland and with an elite lob threat like Jarrett Allen/Evan Mobley. I have questions defensively, but I do think the Cavs frontcourt can clean up a lot of Mitchell's issues, similar to how Gobert did.

So while the Knicks may not have been able to pull things off this summer, given the way Mitchell talked about them I wouldn't exactly say it'll never happen. Knicks fans may just have to wait a few years.