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Donovan Mitchell reveals he was ‘very close’ to joining the New York Knicks

Donovan Mitchell reveals he was ‘very close’ to the New York Knicks at his introductory press conference in Cleveland Cavaliers after the Utah Jazz trade: ‘I thought for sure I was going back home’

  • The New York Knicks were seen as the favorites to trade for Donovan Mitchell
  • Cleveland Cavaliers traded three players, three draft picks and two pick swaps
  • He was born and raised in Westchester, New York, and wanted to return home

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After months and months of trade speculation, most fans and media members believed that Donovan Mitchell would definitely be traded from the Utah Jazz to the New York Knicks and that includes the player himself.

Mitchell was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers instead and had his inaugural press conference on Wednesday. Although most of the focus was on his now being a member of the Cavs, there turned out to be time to discuss how close Mitchell was to returning home to New York.

“Very close,” the three-time All-Star said with a smile on ESPN’s “NBA Today.”

Donovan Mitchell laughs as he speaks to the media during his introductory press conference

Donovan Mitchell laughs as he speaks to the media during his introductory press conference

Mitchell and his mother Nicole Mitchell are pictured holding his sweater during a press conference

Mitchell and his mother Nicole Mitchell are pictured holding his sweater during a press conference

Mitchell and his mother Nicole Mitchell are pictured holding his sweater during a press conference

‘I won’t say more, but I know a little more than most. Certainly a bit close.’

Close clearly wasn’t close enough as Mitchell was traded to Cleveland for a pack of five first-round picks, Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen and Ochai Agbaji.

In the end, according to reports, the biggest delay between the Knicks and the Jazz was the number of unprotected first-round draft picks in the deal.

Mitchell was traded to Utah Jazz's Cleveland Cavilers, not the New York Knicks

Mitchell was traded to Utah Jazz's Cleveland Cavilers, not the New York Knicks

Mitchell was traded to Utah Jazz’s Cleveland Cavilers, not the New York Knicks

“I definitely thought I was going to go back home, I’m not going to lie about that,” Mitchell told reporters in his introductory Cavs press conference on Wednesday. “Who wouldn’t want to be next to their mother?”

Mitchell grew up in Westchester County and his father, Donovan Mitchell Sr., works for the Mets. Despite not being able to play for his home team, Mitchell still expressed his joy at fitting into his new home.

“When I found out I was being traded and what I was getting into, that trumped everything for me,” he said. “I’m really excited to be here and be a part of this group and be a part of this city. … To be here, I’m really excited.’

Mitchell led Utah to several consecutive playoff appearances before the team hit the reset button

Mitchell led Utah to several consecutive playoff appearances before the team hit the reset button

Mitchell led Utah to several consecutive playoff appearances before the team hit the reset button