Donovan Mitchell was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers last summer, but are we sure he doesn’t wish he played for the Knicks?
Donovan Mitchell’s debut season with the Cleveland Cavaliers couldn’t have gone much better. He averaged 28.3 points on 48.4 percent shooting — both career highs. He also led Cleveland to the fourth seed in the East and made his first All-NBA team. After several productive years in Utah, Mitchell was finally cemented as a legitimate superstar.
Then the playoffs arrived and Cleveland was gentlemen swept out of the first round by the New York Knicks. And, if you recall, the Knicks were the team most heavily featured in Mitchell trade rumors last summer before Danny Ainge made the deal with Cleveland.
While Mitchell embraced Cleveland with open arms and spoke of his childhood days as a Cavs fan, the general sentiment around the NBA — at least before the trade — was that Mitchell wanted to be a Knick. And, well, he’s not working to hard to squash any lingering doubts.
Donovan Mitchell sounds like he wants to play for the New York Knicks
Appearing on the “Run Your Race” Podcast, Mitchell spoke very favorably about the atmosphere in the Garden during the playoffs.
Now, Mitchell isn’t the first player to acknowledge the fervor of the New York fanbase. The Knicks’ venue is historic — no stadium has played host to more great performances from opposing players. The fanbase is constantly there and invested, even in down years, so it comes as no surprise that fans were lined up early and ready to rumble with New York back in the playoffs.
The Cavs’ loss to New York came as a mild surprise, especially the manner of their loss. The Knicks may have been the better team, or at least the deeper team, but the Cavs held the fifth-best regular season record in the entire NBA. Mitchell made All-NBA, Darius Garland was not far behind, and Evan Mobley was a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year. The Knicks’ curb-stomping them in five games was simply not the expected outcome.
Mitchell himself admitted that he thought he would play for the Knicks at one point before the trade. It wouldn’t be surprising if the outcome of that series made him reflect on what once felt probable. The Cavs have plenty of time to improve the roster and build a contender with Mitchell at the helm, but he’s a free agent in 2025. That’s not too far down the road. One can’t help but think that maybe, just maybe, he might consider bolting for the Knicks when the time comes.