Charles Barkley dismisses Knicks front office thought Jazz were ‘trying to rip somebody off’

As soon as a Woj bomb dropped, Donovan Mitchell was headed to Cleveland, almost every person, every source around the league believed the Jazz would eventually trade him to the Knicks. After that surprise, more time was spent on how the Knicks pulled it off — or made the right decision by not overbidding — than was spent on Mitchell in Cleveland.

What was the Knicks front office thinking? Charles Barkley recently dropped a little insight on an appearance on Sirius XM NBA Radio, based on his conversation with New York front office powerhouse William ‘World Wide’ Wessley.

“I actually had this conversation last night with World Wide Wes at dinner. I said, “Why didn’t you all trade?” He says, “Oh man. Don’t mess with the media. [The Jazz] I wanted my wife, my kids… 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 rip someone off.” So he’s like, “man, we’re going to have to broadcast it.” And I give credit to these guys, because you can’t give it all.”

Charles Barkley is as much a provocateur as he is an NBA analyst — we should always take what he says with a grain of salt… or a whole shaker — but these comments follow other reporting.

One thing is clear in the wake of the New York no-trade: There was no consensus in the Knicks front office on how to proceed with this trade. New York’s front office has a lot of influential people used to making decisions – Leon Rose, World Wide Wes, Gerson Rosas (who did much of the day-to-day trading), Scott Perry, owner James Dolan and list goes on and on — and that can lead to mixed messages. Look at the range of reports outside of New York, and it’s clear that some of the Knicks’ front office was more involved in this deal than others, and the result is a jumble of different paths and offers — with Utah trying to wring more from New York. The Cavaliers’ offer was cut and dried — three unprotected picks was the most they could offer. It was on the table.

As noted when breaking down the winners and losers from this trade, it’s impossible to say today whether the Knicks did the right thing by not upping their offer to get the deal done. They’re better off not overpaying and tying their hands for future moves, but whether the Knicks regret this will depend on whether they can land whoever the next available superstar is and how the team develops from here . Maybe it’s a great opportunity to land an All-Star, elite scorer who wanted to be in New York. On the other hand, maybe they dodged a bullet and the one in the corner is better. We’ll see.

But you can be sure the Knicks not landing Mitchell is a conversation that will come up again and again in the years to come.

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