As the dust settles in the aftermath of the blockbuster Donovan Mitchell trade, some have speculated that the Utah Jazz sent the three-time All-Star to the Cleveland Cavaliers as retribution for wanting out of Salt Lake City.
Rick Bucher of FS1 reported the ‘hypothesis’ in a tweet.
“Why Donovan Mitchell wound up with the Cavs...(Learned yet another reason after recording the podcast: some Jazz officials were not happy that Mitchell wanted out and viewed sending him to CLE -- rather than home to NY -- as payback) shows.acast.com/bucher-and-fri… via @acast," Bucher tweeted.
This would contradict NBA insider Brian Windhorst's report on Mitchell’s reaction when the news broke.
“It’s a great fit for Donovan Mitchell,” Windhorst said on ESPN 850 radio. “And I’m gonna tell you, I can’t tell you how I know, but I’m aware of when he found out. And I’m aware of when he actually found out about what was in the trade. And when he found out — he was on a golf course — and when he found out that Mobley, Jarrett Allen, and Darius Garland were not in the trade, and neither was Kevin Love, he went screaming around the golf course, he was so excited.”
The notion that Utah would take a lesser deal to spite Mitchell doesn’t make much sense if you follow the logic. There’s no doubt Mitchell would have been ecstatic to go back home, but the Cavaliers are set up to win a championship in the present. The Eastern Conference is there for the taking, and Mitchell will be playing in games that matter.
On the other hand, the New York Knicks are a team on the rise, but are still multiple pieces away from entering the championship conversation.
There has also been some social media buzz that Utah dealt Mitchell to the Cavs due to its frustration with the Knicks regarding how everything played out. This goes back to the reports that the Knicks front office attended a Jazz-Mavericks playoff game.
Ian Begley of Syntv addressed the claims on the Lowe Post podcast.
“Emotions can play into this. I've been assured by the Utah side that 'No, look, we're mature people," Begley said. "Yes, we were upset with particularly the Mavs' game incident, but we're not going to make decisions based on those kind of things that now happened four months ago or whatever. We've made the best deal possible.'"
Again, here we have another scenario that doesn’t make sense. The Knicks were given plenty of time to get a deal done. Any story that supports the theory that New York was being used sounds like damage control for letting Mitchell slip away.
All this being said, the Jazz front office did Mitchell and his ex-running mate Rudy Gobert a solid by sending them to destinations that will allow them to compete for a championship.
Could it be Gobert vs. Mitchell in the NBA Finals year? I definitely wouldn’t rule it out as a possibility.
Follow Patrick on Twitter @pbyrnesNBA.