The New York Knicks have had a surprisingly strong season thus far, highlighted by their first-round series win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now, they are set to play the Miami Heat in the second round of the NBA playoffs, a scenario that few thought possible.
With two of the top four teams in the Eastern Conference already eliminated, New York could make its first Eastern Conference Finals since 1999. That is exciting for Knicks fans, as is a new report by Jason Lloyd suggesting that a star they nearly acquired in the offseason and just beat may want to join the Knicks.
Donovan Mitchell turned heads this season and helped lead the Cavaliers to their most successful non-Lebron season since the 1990s. However, he was almost a Knick before Cleveland acquired him, and his contract is up in just a couple of seasons, so soon he’ll be able to pick his next team.
Will Donovan Mitchell leave Cleveland for the Knicks?
Cleveland losing to the Knicks, despite having home-court advantage and being the better team on paper, isn’t a good look. Still, they are a team on the rise, and their core is so young that at 27, Mitchell is a couple of years older than the second-oldest member.
That core could do big things in the near future, particularly with the Bucks’ potentially shaking things up and the 76ers at risk of losing their second-best player this summer. Even then, Cleveland isn’t New York in terms of appeal. Additionally, Mitchell may want to eventually play in a big market after spending his first seven years in the NBA playing in Utah and Cleveland.
For years, the Knicks were a tire fire that stars tended to avoid, but they have turned things around in a big way. New York making the Eastern Conference Finals and going toe-to-toe with the winner of the Celtics-76ers series would reinforce that. As would continuing that success over the next couple of seasons, which could pay off by enticing Mitchell to join the Knicks.
Ultimately, there is still a lot of time until Mitchell’s free agency. Even then, it will undoubtedly not be the last time we see Mitchell linked to the Knicks between now and June 2025.