With Kevin Durant and the Nets sorting out their differences (at least temporarily) and planning to move forward together, the eyes of the basketball community have turned to Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz.
Utah firmly entered a rebuilding phase when it sent Rudy Gobert to Minnesota in a blockbuster trade earlier this summer. That deal appeared to be a precursor to a Mitchell trade, but with the start of the 2022-23 season fast approaching, the three-time All-Star guard hasn’t left Salt Lake City just yet.
It has long been suspected that the Knicks will eventually land Mitchell, given they’ve been tied to the New York native since mid-July. However, The Athletic’s Tony Jones reported Thursday that a Knicks-Jazz trade is not “imminent” and that Utah “has started receiving offers from other teams.”
While this is an interesting wrinkle in the Mitchell conversation, Knicks fans shouldn’t be too concerned. New York remains the team to beat.
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Why Knicks Still Have An Edge Over Other Teams In Donovan Mitchell’s Trade Talks
The Jazz have received several offers from teams other than the Knicks who they find “intriguing and worth pursuing,” according to Jones, who also reported that Mitchell’s wish list includes the Knicks, Nets and Heat. (To be clear, Mitchell hasn’t requested a formal swap. These are just his preferred teams should Utah decide to trade him.)
New York has a significant advantage over Brooklyn and Miami in trading wealth. The Knicks have young, talented players (RJ Barrett, Quentin Grimes and Obi Toppin) and can field up to eight prospective first round players (four on their own and four from other teams).
There are also specific complications with potential deals involving the Nets and Heat. Brooklyn cannot have Mitchell and Ben Simmons on the roster at the same time due to NBA rules regarding players who signed maximum rookie extensions. Utah Miami reportedly asked Miami to field a third team because the Jazz don’t believe the Heat alone can offer enough compensation.
The Hornets and Wizards were also released as Mitchell suitors, and there’s always a chance that another mysterious team will step up their pursuit of a Mitchell trade. (The Cavaliers reportedly “touched the grassroots” with the Jazz over a Mitchell trade, but have since removed himself out of the equation.) However, any front office would struggle to top the Knicks’ best package.
It makes sense that Utah would be in talks with other teams to push up the asking price for Mitchell, but at this point in the offseason, New York is still the most logical place to land.