Despite the fact that the New York Knicks were considered the frontrunner to land Donovan Mitchell, the fact of the matter is that they never got their man. The Cleveland Cavaliers emerged at the last minute to steal him away after agreeing to a blockbuster deal with the Utah Jazz.
As it turns out, Jazz team executive Danny Ainge may have had a lot to do with New York’s botched move on Mitchell. Ainge was heavily involved in the negotiations and apparently, he may have had a vendetta set out on the Knicks. This report comes via team insider Marc Berman of the New York Post:
There is a sentiment around the league that all things equal, Ainge preferred to keep Mitchell off Broadway. Mitchell wanted his hometown Knicks and the chances of him turning into a bigger star loomed large in the media capital. (Mitchell sounded excited on social media to join Garland in the backcourt).
It is unclear as to whether or not Ainge’s supposed grudge was personal in nature, but it does sound like this is indeed possible considering how much he wanted the Knicks to give up in exchange for Donovan Mitchell.
“I think Danny was thinking if he was giving him to New York, he wanted to rob them,’’ another NBA executive said. “He knew how much they wanted him.’’
At the end of the day, the Jazz got quite a haul from the Cavs. As a matter of fact, some might even argue that Utah got a better deal than what they wanted from the Knicks. Whatever the case may be, the hard truth here is that it’s the Knicks who come out on the losing end of this fiasco. Again.