Why the Nets need to strike quickly if Donovan Mitchell opens door to a New York return

Donovan Mitchell has been in the Nets’ plans. It remains to be seen if they’re in his.

For the past year Brooklyn has been eyeing Mitchell, a New York-born All-Star who has reportedly been dissatisfied and disgruntled in Cleveland and open to coming home. With the Cavaliers falling short of his stated goal of an NBA Finals run after being eliminated in the second round, his status as a potential free agent next summer has made his situation the most-watched in the league.

The Post has reported on the Nets’ interest in Mitchell, while ESPN cited both the Lakers and Heat as being in the mix, too. Mitchell came out Thursday and tried to tamp down any speculation about his future. But the genie is out of the bottle, and won’t be put back in until he either signs an extension in Cleveland, picks up his 2025-26 option or gets traded.

The latter appears to be Brooklyn’s best avenue to get Mitchell, if not their only real viable path to the All-Star.