The New York Knicks took several steps in recent years to be in the best position to acquire a superstar. As a blockbuster Donovan Mitchell trade appears increasingly likely, it seems New York’s chances of landing are skyrocketing.
Days after trading All-Star center Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Utah Jazz made Mitchell available. The decision only came after weeks of executive Danny Ainge rejecting inquiries from across the league.
Mitchell has been on New York’s radar for months, with NBA executives first leaking in February that the All-Star guard was on the team’s offseason radar. The Knicks were simply waiting for the moment when he would become available, which is happening thanks to Utah launching a rebuild.
- Donovan Mitchell stats: 25.9 PPG, 5.3 APG, 4.2 RPG. 1.5 SPG, .152 WS/48
While multiple NBA teams are interested in Mitchell and reportedly making offers, New York went into the process as the overwhelming favorite to land him. It now seems as if the chances of Mitchell returning home to New York are increasing.
Why New York Knicks are the favorites to land Donovan Mitchell
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Knicks are an even stronger favorite to land Mitchell because the Phoenix Suns re-signed Deandre Ayton. By matching the offer sheet he signed from the Indiana Pacers, Ayton can’t be traded until January.
It rules out Ayton being used in a four-team involving the Jazz and Brooklyn Nets. Theoretically, ti was believed that Kevin Durant would be traded to Phoenix, Mitchell would join the Nets, Ayton would land with a fourth team and the Jazz would receive draft picks.
- Donovan Mitchell contract: $30.351 million salary (2022-’23), $134.9 million owed through 2025
All of that is now off the table. Furthermore, Phoenix no longer has the ability to pull off a trade for Durant. Because the Miami Heat are the other preferred destination for the future Hall of Famer, Pat Riley will likely prioritize the star with a better opportunity to help the team win a title next season.
Other interested NBA teams will still make a run at Mitchell, seeing if they can offer the package of assets the Jazz want. However, the Knicks boast the assets and desire to bring the All-Star guard back home and it would be a surprise if he isn’t playing at Madison Square Garden in a Knicks uniform this upcoming season.