Cavaliers’ Donovan Mitchell says he expected to be dealt to Knicks: ‘I thought for sure I was going back home’

On Wednesday, Donovan Mitchell was formally unveiled as a Cleveland Cavaliers player. He addressed the media during his first news conference after being welcomed at the airport by a throng of ardent supporters. It goes without saying that a significant topic was the days and months before to his eventual trade.

In response to a question, Mitchell stated he was unsure of his destination but believed it would be the New York Knicks.

“Sincerely, I was clueless. On a Wednesday, my agent contacted and informed me that I was travelling to Cleveland. Just like I mentioned, my response was what it was. To be honest, I didn’t really say much during the summer; I really just left you folks get on with your lives. I won’t lie; I believed that I would return home without a doubt. However, I was shocked to learn my destination, my teammates, and the coaching staff. I couldn’t be happier to be here, to be a part of this group and organisation, to join these incredible men and contribute. That’s the thing that really excites me.”

Mitchell grew up outside of New York City in Westchester County, and when it was known that the Utah Jazz were doing a complete demolition, there were plenty of whispers about him joining the Knicks. In addition to having ties to his hometown, Mitchell is represented by CAA Sports, the organisation that the new Knicks president Leon Rose once oversaw.

All of that is terrific, but none of it was sufficient to close the sale when it really mattered. Mitchell undoubtedly would have appreciated playing at Madison Square Garden and at home, but the Cavaliers are in a far better position to succeed.

This is seen by Mitchell’s response after learning of the deal

“That claim was accurate when I initially learned I was playing golf, and I ran about like a crazy person. Because I didn’t know who was in the transaction; I just knew I was traded, it was mostly when I discovered who we kept. We had a strong group, a squad that was third in the East when I learned we kept DG [Darius Garland], JA [Jarrett Allen], Ev [Evan Mobley], Caris [LeVert], and all these guys, I was thinking, “we have a talented bunch,” but then obviously injuries happened. That was before I arrived, so now all we have to do is focus on winning and growing. And I’m genuinely thrilled to be a part of this group, to be in this city, to play basketball with a team of players that are genuinely motivated to succeed and to keep growing. Despite our youth, we are eager and hungry. I’m definitely one of the team’s elder players, which is strange to say.

Mitchell seems to be exactly what the Cavaliers were lacking in terms of a dynamic lead scorer who can step up late in games and relieve some of the pressure off Darius Garland. The Cavaliers also have the defensive players to make up for his shortcomings on that side of the ball.

The Cavaliers have one of the most exciting young cores in the game with Mitchell on board. But how seamless will be his entry? What level are the Cavaliers capable of reaching this year? In Cleveland and around the league, they are two of the season’s most intriguing topics.

Shreyansh is passionate about working on challenging ideas and exploring the boundaries to pursue innovation. He is an engineering student pursuing Electronics and an NBA die hard fan. He has been following NBA since his childhood and basketball has been very close to him to get away from the noise.