Charles Barkley credits Knicks for letting Mitchell Donovan deal go through

March 4, 2021; New York, New York, United States; New York Knicks executive vice president William Wesley looks at the scoreboard during a first quarter timeout against the Detroit Pistons at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks were clowned for missing Donovan Mitchell, a three-time All-Star guard and Westchester native who would have made them a legitimate playoff contender. But one of the team’s top executives explained why the Knicks finally caved in bringing Mitchell home.

William Wesley, executive vice president and senior adviser to the Knicks, told NBA legend and TNT analyst Charles Barkley that they don’t want to get ripped off.

“I had this conversation [Thursday night] with World Wide Wes (Wesley) at a dinner party. I said, ‘Wes, why didn’t you do the [Mitchell] Trade?’ He said, “Oh man, don’t trust the media stuff.” They wanted my wife, my children… He said ‘I don’t want to give them [everything]. We wanted the deal, obviously.

But he said, ‘they wanted my wife, they wanted my kids, they wanted my grandkids. They were just trying to scam someone. So he said… ‘Man, we’re gonna have to let it go.’ And I give these guys credit because you can’t give your all for a guy. I like Donovan, he is a very good player. It was the first time in a long time that the Knicks [showed restraint].”

Charles Barkley via SiriusXM NBA Radio

The Knicks have shown restraint in nearly two months of on-and-off negotiations with the Jazz — a refreshing sight in New York. The old-time Knicks would have jumped at the chance to land an All-Star, even at the expense of the team’s future.

But the Knicks didn’t fall into the trap with Leon Rose at the helm. Rose saw firsthand how the Carmelo Anthony trade crippled the team’s ability to surround its former superstar client with a championship-caliber supporting cast.

A deal with Mitchell would have made him a playoff contender in the immediate future, but with no clear path to title contention.

Thus, after almost two months in control, the Knicks, who were inches from the finish line, pushed the breakaway. That’s when the Cleveland Cavaliers snuck in from behind to land Mitchell.

The Cavaliers reached a blockbuster deal just 48 hours after Knicks-Utah Jazz talks momentarily stalled for the nth time when RJ Barrett signed a rookie extension that complicated his participation in the trade.

Utah CEO Danny Ainge got what he wanted, receiving three unprotected first-round picks (2025, 2027 and 2029), which the Knicks reportedly refused to give up in a deal involving Barrett, two trades picks in 2026 and 2028, former lottery picks Collin Sexton and Lauri Markkanen, and this year’s 14th overall pick, Ochai Agbaji.

New York’s refusal to send an unprotected third first-round pick would have scuttled a frame that Utah was willing to accept. The Knicks’ final reported offer was Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, two unprotected first-round picks in 2024 and 2026, Milwaukee‘s 2025 top-4 protected pick, two future second-round picks, two pick trades (2025 and 2027) and Evan Fournier (going to a third team using one of the Knicks’ additional protected first-round picks among other teams).

Adding the Knicks’ 2027 unprotected first-round pick instead of Milwaukee’s pick could have sealed the deal, but they wanted top-5 protection which killed the deal.

Had the Knicks agreed to the Jazz’s demands, they would have been left with their 2029 first-round pick and four first-round picks with varying protections from Dallas (2023-25 ​​top-10 protected), Washington (2023 top-14 protected ), Milwaukee (top-4 protected 2024) and Denver (top-14 protected 2023-2025).

It wouldn’t be enough to trade a second star to team up with Mitchell. And the Knicks would have nearly $100 million of their cap space tied to the quartet of Mitchell, Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson in the 2023-24 season.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

About Marc Womack

Check Also

Kolten Wong hits 3 homers as Brewers beat Reds 5-1

CINCINNATI (AP) — Kolten Wong hit a career-high three homers and drove in five runs, …