Another day, another NBA trade rumor. This one involves one of the best scorers in the NBA likely leaving his current team next summer. According to The Ringers’ Ben Simmons, Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell bolting in free agency is “the worst kept secret in the NBA”.
If that is the case, then the New York Knicks, who are often linked to NBA stars but have a poor track record of actually landing stars, would probably be the frontrunners. In fact, Simmons has repeatedly stated that a star would be headed to New York, with Mitchell being the most likely candidate.
NBA Rumors: Donovan Mitchell is all but certain to bolt in free agency.
With Mitchell unlikely to sign a contract extension between now and next summer, there is definitely a chance that he will join the Knicks after next season. This comes after the Knicks famously failed to acquire him from the Utah Jazz in the summer of 2022.
Meanwhile, the Miami Heat struck on stars this past summer and with Giannis Antetounkmpo now off the market, they could turn their attention to Mitchell next summer. Though neither team can sign him outright, each could work out a sign-and-trade with the Cavaliers, which would give them at least something in return for the best player.
Considering the Knicks beat the Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs, losing Mitchell to them would be salt in the wound. Not to mention that they would have to play Mitchell and the Knicks four times a season, as well as in another potential playoff series. The same could be said for the Heat, who have made the Eastern Conference Finals three times in the last four seasons, including two trips to the NBA Finals.
Either way, Cleveland would get worse while teams such as the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics increased the gap between them and the rest of the East. That’s why the Knicks and Heat would be desperate to land Mitchell to try and level up.
Acquiring Mitchell could help both teams contend while potentially pushing Cleveland down in the East. Without Mitchell, the Knicks made it within a couple of games of the Eastern Conference Finals and they would have a chance to make it at least that far with Mitchell.
Meanwhile, Miami made it to the Finals as an eight-seed. With a third star, they might be able to make it back and finally win a championship with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Whether Simmons’ intel proves to be right remains to be seen, but he seems convinced that Mitchell won’t be with the Cavaliers after this season.