The Knicks believe they could have topped the offer that sent Donovan Mitchell to the Cavaliers, but they never got the chance to make a counterproposal, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Talks with the Jazz were on hold after word leaked late Monday night about an extension agreement with RJ Barrett. The Knicks were hoping to resume negotiations, but Utah reached a deal with Cleveland before that could happen.
Some members of the Knicks didn’t feel like they got “a fair shake” in the trade talks, and Bondy wonders whether the experience is related to the team’s high-profile appearance at a Jazz-Mavericks playoff game in April. New York, which was known to have interest in both Mitchell and Jalen Brunson, whom it ultimately signed, sent executives William Wesley and Allan Houston to the game, along with Julius Randle. They all sat at courtside, which reportedly upset officials from both Utah and Dallas.
The Knicks could have offered the Jazz more draft assets than they got from Cleveland, and they believe their early offers that centered on Barrett and first-round picks were better than the final deal. Bondy states that it’s unlikely that Utah executive Danny Ainge would sabotage a deal because of bitterness over the playoff stunt or a feud with CAA, but Bondy notes that Ainge only made one trade with the Knicks during his 18 years in the Celtics’ front office.
There’s more from New York:
- Gersson Rosas, who serves as senior basketball advisor with the Knicks, handled most of the negotiations with Utah, sources tell Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Rosas has a friendly relationship with Jazz general manager Justin Zanik, so they did most of the talking instead of Ainge and Knicks president Leon Rose, according to Washburn’s sources. Although Rosas didn’t complete the deal, the report shows that he has assumed more than just an advisory role with the franchise.
- The Knicks’ decision to give Barrett an extension was in reaction to the failed talks with the Jazz, per Marc Berman of The New York Post. A league source tells Berman that under normal circumstances, the team would have preferred to watch Barrett go through training camp before discussing the extension or possibly even wait until he hit restricted free agency next summer. The Knicks drafted Barrett before Rose and Wesley joined the organization. “They didn’t want to pay RJ now, they like RJ, but he’s not one of their guys,’’ Berman’s source said. “The preference was to trade him in a Donovan deal. … If they got Donovan without Barrett in the deal, they weren’t going to pay RJ now.’’
- New York’s priority in trade talks was keeping Quentin Grimes, states David Aldridge of The Athletic. Aldridge recommends that the Knicks should dip into their stockpile of draft assets to try to get Myles Turner and Buddy Hield from the Pacers.