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You just never know what to expect from the NBA offseason and while the month of August was quiet for the most part with many pointing fingers in regards to the Brooklyn Nets and their drama with Kevin Durant, but the month of September has started with a bang!

On Thursday afternoon, the Utah Jazz agreed to a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers involving three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell, a trade that many did not see coming.

The Jazz had been actively engaged in trade conversation involving Mitchell for quite some time now and the consensus around the league circles for the last month had been that the All-Star guard would be moved prior to the start of the 2022-23 season given that Utah is looking to take a step back and rebuild. However, all indications pointed towards the Utah Jazz getting a deal done with the New York Knicks, not the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Fans of the Knicks have waited a while for their organization to make a big move and while they signed Jalen Brunson to a massive four-year, $104 million deal in free agency, the mindset this summer in New York City was that Donovan Mitchell would be the face of the Knicks come time for the start of the 2022-23 season.

So what went wrong from the Knicks perspective given that they had a deal lined up for Mitchell and given that he had a lot of interest in joining New York?

Knicks president Leon Rose and the front-office had set a strict deadline on getting a deal done for Utah’s All-Star and after several weeks of negotiations, this deadline came on August 29. That night, New York took a step backwards in trade talks with the Jazz by agreeing to a four-year rookie extension with former No. 3 overall pick RJ Barrett, a young star that was being included in a trade package that would go to Utah, league sources tell Fastbreak on FanNation.

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Along with Barrett, the Knicks had offered up former first-round pick Obi Toppin, Evan Fournier and two unprotected first-round picks, along with a couple of other protected picks and swaps, those sources added. Utah was looking for at least three unprotected first-round picks and had been consistently asking for four first-round picks from New York.

As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted on Thursday, the two teams could not come to an agreement on how many unprotected draft picks should be included in a potential deal for Donovan Mitchell. RJ Barett, Quentin Grimes, Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, Evan Fournier and even Mitchell Robinson were all brought up at certain points in negotiations with some hypothetical trade packages inching closer to an agreement than others.

Unable to get a deal done with New York, executive Danny Ainge and Utah’s front-office began to look at all of their options and consider trade packages presented by the Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornets, Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers, sources said. Cleveland’s package of young talents and draft picks stood out to the Jazz the most, which is why the Cavaliers and Jazz were able to strike a deal over the last 48 hours.


Collin Sexton is a young, athletic guard that has proven to be a scorer in the backcourt and will replace Donovan Mitchell’s production in Utah. Lauri Markkanen is a former first-round pick that provides the team with a younger option to build with out on the wing or at the power forward position and Ochai Agbaji is a rookie that enters the NBA with a ton of confidence in his shooting abilities and overall game stemming from him leading Kansas to a championship.

The Knicks inability to give into Utah’s requests for Donovan Mitchell is why a deal never occurred and New York was never prepared to offer more than two unprotected first-round picks for Mitchell if they were to give up one of their young guards in Quentin Grimes or Immanuel Quickley, according to sources. The idea of adding numerous draft assets through the next several seasons, much like they did in the Rudy Gobert trade, was something the Jazz prioritized in trade negotiations with every team that inquired about Mitchell, sources said, which is where trade talks stalled with the Knicks.

There had also been some conversation pertaining to other teams getting involved in trade negotiations for Donovan Mitchell, specifically the Los Angeles Lakers possibly being a third team in a trade that could have occurred. The Lakers and general manager Rob Pelinka have continued to be open-minded this offseason and they have been receptive to moving on from some of their future draft assets, specifically their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks, if it presents a clear path to increasing their immediate championship odds. The future of All-Star guard Russell Westbrook also remains in question, as the Lakers are still exploring the possibility of trading him for said championship assets, sources tell Fastbreak.

With Mitchell now in Cleveland though, the chances of the Lakers moving on from Westbrook have declined even more and the possibility of adding players like Evan Fournier, Cam Reddish, Bojan Bogdanovic or Mike Conley in a three-team deal are slim to none now for Los Angeles.

Myles Turner and Buddy Hield still remain trade targets of the Lakers, sources said, but the Indiana Pacers have yet to show a willingness to heavily engage in trade conversations with Los Angeles given their inability to offer valuable, future assets to Indiana in return. The Brooklyn Nets are another team that have explored the possibility of trading for Turner over the last several months dating back to the 2021-22 NBA Trade Deadline, yet talks never progressed past Brooklyn expressing initial interest, according to sources.

Fully engaged in trade talks with the Utah Jazz over the last few weeks and close to getting a deal done at multiple points in negotiations, the New York Knicks once again have to deal with the aftermath of disappointment from their fan base. Donovan Mitchell was being deemed a “hometown kid” that the Knicks franchise needed and now, he is nothing more than an All-Star that the team will play four times during the regular season and possibly in the playoffs for years to come should both the Cavaliers and Knicks advance to play one another.

For the Jazz, it appears as if the next several years will consist of a massive rebuild, as Utah has taken a page out of general manager Sam Presti’s book with the Oklahoma City Thunder; acquiring draft pick after draft pick in hopes of controlling the NBA Draft and young prospects that enter the league over the next several years.

They may only have one title in their team history, but the Cleveland Cavaliers now turn their attention to joining the championship picture in what has turned out to be an Eastern Conference loaded with All-Star talent. Being a young team that now has three proven All-Star talents in Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Donovan Mitchell, as well as a future All-Star in Evan Mobley, the sky’s the limit for the Cavaliers as they begin a new chapter in franchise history.

Other Notes & Intel From Around The NBA:

Charlotte Hornets: While they did make a competitive offer for Donovan Mitchell that drew some interest within Utah’s front-office, according to a league source, the Charlotte Hornets find themselves where they have been all offseason long – trying to find ways to move forward and be a competitive team in the Eastern Conference. Charlotte has expressed interest in bringing back former All-Star guard Kemba Walker, assuming he is bought out by the Detroit Pistons.

Houston Rockets: Kevin Porter Jr. and the Houston Rockets continue to be in contact about a possible contract extension with both sides hoping to get a deal done before the start of the 2022-23 season, as first reported by The Athletic. Eric Gordon remains a veteran on a handful of playoff-caliber team’s radars heading into the season and will once again be a prime trade deadline target should he remain healthy.

Utah Jazz: Following the departure of Donovan Mitchell, many around the league are anticipating the Jazz looking to move Jordan Clarkson, Bojan Bogdanovic and/or Mike Conley before the trade deadline. Clarkson has generated the most interest thus far with the Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors said to be teams with initial interest following Rudy Gobert’s departure earlier this offseason, sources told Fastbreak.