The All-Star trade that finally looked like it would go the New York Knicks' way, well, didn't. The Cleveland Cavaliers swooped in after the Utah Jazz didn't cave to the hardball stance from Leon Rose and co.

Most trade negotiations see the pursuing party gradually increase their offer as time goes by. But that's not what happened with the Knicks and their talks with Danny Ainge. The final Knicks offer on the table reportedly didn't include a key piece of the trade package that they dangled in early July.

According to ESPN insider Adrian Wojanrowski, the Knicks initially had 24-year-old center Mitchell Robinson as part of the deal months back. But after the Jazz turned down that early offer, the Knicks then went ahead and signed their young big man to a $60 million extension.


New York and Utah discussed numerous iterations of a Mitchell trade, including a significant Knicks' initial offer in early July prior to Mitchell Robinson signing his contract extension. Near the start of talks in early July, New York offered a package that would've included Barrett, Obi Toppin, Robinson and three unprotected first-round picks, sources told ESPN. Utah turned down that offer, and Robinson signed his extension, essentially eliminating the possibility he could become a part of a deal.

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Teams aren't allowed to trade players signed to extensions of that length for at least six months. Given the fact that the Knicks weren't the only suitor for Donovan Mitchell, they weren't just going to wait until that time elapsed and resume talks that could include the big man. New York doubled down on their internal moves with the $120 million RJ Barrett extension that made a deal even more complicated.

Before Barrett's extension, the Knicks and Jazz were reportedly “inching closer” to a trade but Rose was firm in not including Quentin Grimes in any trade that also included RJ Barrett. The two GMs squabbled over draft picks and with Grimes off the table, the margins couldn't be closed to consummate a deal.

When guard Immanuel Quickley was proposed as a replacement for Grimes in the trade, Utah wanted three unprotected first-round draft picks as part of the package — but New York would only do a third first-round pick that included top-five protections, sources said. Those packages would've included Milwaukee's 2025 first-round pick, two second-round picks, two pick swaps and two expiring contracts from a third team, sources said. New York would've moved out Evan Fournier and a first-round pick to a third team to spare Utah taking on Fournier's remaining $37 million, sources said.

True enough, once the Knicks' set deadline of Monday for a deal to be made came and went, Cavs GM Koby Altman got on the phone and came in hot with a superstar haul that the Knicks didn't even get a chance to match. Time will tell if New York will rue their hesitancy or be grateful they didn't mortgage their future for Mitchell.