Widespread reports suggest that Donovan Mitchell, the Utah Jazz shooting guard, is on the trade block — and the Knicks have significant interest in making a deal to bring the star to Madison Square Garden.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday that “after previously shutting down inquiries on moving All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, rival teams say the Utah Jazz are showing a willingness to listen to possible trade scenarios.”
Mitchell, who came to the Jazz in the 2017 NBA Draft, quickly made a name for himself as a solid two-way player, and has helped propel Utah to the playoffs each year of his five-year career.
Last season, Mitchell averaged 25.9 points, 5.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds over 33.8 minutes in 67 games.
The New York State native has been rumored to be a trade target in recent years as the Jazz have failed to reach the Western Conference finals, and have found themselves in the middle of the playoff pack.
When the Jazz traded away Mitchell’s All-Star partner Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for a haul of draft picks, rumors hit a fever pitch that the team was looking to blow up the roster and begin a rebuilding process.
Like many teams, the Jazz are surely interested in securing a high pick in the 2023 NBA Draft next year, which is considered one of the deepest in recent history, and is led by French phenom Victor Wembanyama.
That has only become more likely as the former front office head of the Boston Celtics front office Danny Ainge moved over to Utah as the CEO of basketball operations — with many NBA insiders speculating that Ainge would look to remake the roster in his own image.
The Jazz would certainly demand a significant haul in return for Mitchell, who is under contract for the next three years, with a player option for a fourth year.
The Knicks, meanwhile, have long been rumored to be a destination for Mitchell, and he would fit nicely alongside newly-signed point guard Jalen Brunson.
What can the Knicks offer for Donovan Mitchell?
The biggest question surrounding any potential trade talks between the Knicks and the Jazz surrounds RJ Barrett.
Barrett is the Knicks’ most valuable asset, after coming to the team as the third overall selection in the 2019 draft, and has improved each of his three seasons in the pros. Last year, Barrett averaged 20 points, 3 assists and 5.8 rebounds for New York.
Fans would certainly be devastated to lose Barrett, but a star like Mitchell only becomes available every so often. Ian Begley of SNY, however, reported that the Knicks have no interest in including Barrett in any trade.
In the absence of trading Barrett, the Knicks could offer a package of young players — such as point guard Immanuel Quickley, Cam Reddish and Obi Toppin.
Those players have shown flashes of potential, but have failed to make themselves integral to head coach Tom Thibodeau’s offense, which makes them more expendable than their stars.
In addition to players, the Knicks would also offer a plethora of future draft picks.
The team currently have three picks in next year’s draft — their own selection, along with two protected picks from the Hawks and Spurs. After that, the team owns several second round picks, along with their own selections in multiple upcoming drafts, which they could offer for Mitchell.
It’s not clear if the Knicks could offer the best haul to Utah, as multiple other teams will surely be interested in acquiring the shooting guard, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Leon Rose and New York’s front office to bring the hometown hero back to the Empire State.