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NBA Trade Rumors: Donovan Mitchell Linked to Heat After Jazz's 1st-Round Exit

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 29, 2022

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

The Miami Heat have reportedly emerged as a "smart landing spot" for Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell if he's traded during the 2022 NBA offseason.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported Friday the presence of Dwyane Wade as part of Utah's ownership group could play a key role in negotiations since the longtime Heat superstar maintains "strong connections" to his former team.

Mitchell and the Jazz were eliminated from the playoffs by the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night, jump-starting trade rumors that will likely linger throughout the summer.

It's been less than 24 hours since Utah's season ended, so a lot of things could change over the next few months, but as it stands the return of both Mitchell and center Rudy Gobert to open the 2022-23 season would qualify as a surprise.

The Jazz have reached the postseason six straight times, including all five years since Mitchell arrived alongside Gobert, but they've never advanced beyond the second round of the playoffs.

Add in a history of drama between the franchise's two cornerstone players, and all signs suggest it's time for the front office to shake up the core.

At the outset, it appears Gobert is the player who could be on the move.

Tony Jones of The Athletic reported that there are already "multiple teams" lining up as potential suitors for the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and that the Jazz are entering the offseason with a stance they "want to keep Mitchell."

The one thing that could change that stance would be if Mitchell requests a trade. The three-time All-Star wasn't ready to discuss the future in the immediate aftermath of Thursday's loss, though. He told reporters:

"I'm a competitor, and I feel like if you give us another crack at it, we can go get it. But in the same token, there's things that could change. I'm not ready to discuss that, to be honest with you right now. I'm not. Mentally, I'm just not in that headspace, to be completely honest with you. I'm really not. To me, it sucks, yo. If you ask me that in a week, maybe, but right now I'm not in a headspace to answer that for you."

Going to the Heat would allow him to join a ready-made title contender, but Miami would have to work through the financial intricacies of getting his five-year, $163 million contract to fit within the cap.

The Heat would surely have plenty of competition for Mitchell if he does hit the trade block, too. So how much Wade's influence could impact a potential deal is hard to quantify.

One thing's for sure: It's setting up to become a franchise-altering summer in Utah.

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