Grade the Trade: Knicks strike again, get Mitchell from Cavaliers in new proposal

Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages
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Grade the Trade: Do the Cavaliers say yes?

As with any trade proposal involving Donovan Mitchell, the most important step is the Cavaliers deciding that they are open to trading Mitchell. Whether he comes to them and indicates that he is not going to re-sign, or they decide playing the odds in free agency is unwise, Cleveland has to be willing to come to the table.

If they are, this is a trade that brings a lot of value back to the Cavaliers. Quentin Grimes has had a rocky start to the season but he profiles as an ideal 3-and-D player, the kind of guy who can fit into nearly any lineup. The Dallas pick is likely to convey this season and give the Cavs ammunition at the Trade Deadline or a second pick in June's draft; the other two are speculating in the future and offer upside if the Knicks take a step back years from now.

Even if it's fair value, however, it also puts the onus on Cleveland to find another subsequent trade partner. Even if they trade Mitchell this is a group that will want to keep competing both this season and next. Evan Fournier is unlikely to be in the rotation (although he deserves a shot after being banished in New York) and Robinson is out for the season. The Cavs would likely turn around and try to shop one or the other to go hunting themselves.

Instead, they should force the Knicks to do that work of finding Cleveland a trade partner and turn this into a three-team deal. The Portland Trail Blazers were willing to trade Damian Lillard for Jrue Holiday and then shop separately for a Holiday deal, but that happened before the season with a premium player; the Cavs won't have the same flexibility and robust trade market during the season.

There are the bones of a reasonable trade here if a third team is pulled in, and the Knicks have enough assets not to be laughed away from the negotiating table. This deal, however, doesn't offer the Cavs enough for them to pull the trigger. They'll hang onto their Queen of Spades and wait for a better hand.

Grade: C

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