Donovan Mitchell Trade Rumors: Jazz Gave 'a Firm No' to Teams Calling About Star SG

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 7, 2022

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

For now, the Utah Jazz don't appear to be entertaining offers for star guard Donovan Mitchell.

The Athletic's Tony Jones reported Sunday that multiple teams have reached out to Utah to ask about Mitchell's availability, "only to be given a firm no."

"The Jazz have made it clear they intend on building a roster around Mitchell," Jones wrote. "The only thing that could possibly pry Mitchell from the Jazz at this point is a monstrous offer. They simply don’t have the intention of trading him."

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday that Mitchell was "unsettled" and "unnerved" following the resignation of head coach Quin Snyder.

That has added another layer to an already cloudy future for a franchise that figured to be reshuffling this offseason. Following a third first-round playoff exit in four years, the Jazz clearly need to change some things in order to avoid a similar fate in 2022-23.

Part of that strategy could include trading one of their foundational pieces—just not Mitchell. Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reported May 31 the team was "weighing trade possibilities" involving Rudy Gobert.

In the summer of 2019, the Oklahoma City Thunder were facing a similar dilemma as they were coming off a third straight loss in the first round. Whatever plans they had to improve in the short term were quickly dashed when Paul George requested and was granted a trade to the Los Angeles Clippers.

ESPN's Ramona Shelburne described Thunder general manager Sam Presti as "stunned" when George first reached out with the request.

With George gone, Russell Westbrook was shipped out soon after, and the Thunder were forced to rebuild from the ground up.

In the wake of Wojnarowski's report on Mitchell, it's not implausible that the Jazz could have an equally rapid reversal of fortunes. Unlike with Oklahoma City, though, Utah trading away one of its two stars could placate rather than alienate the other.

As much as the team tried to play down any friction between Mitchell and Gobert, they simply didn't appear to be on the same page. Even though Gobert isn't a dynamic offensive presence, it's difficult to justify how Mitchell would only look his way 2.3 times per game, according to NBA.com.

Persisting with this partnership might be a recipe for disaster.

Trading Gobert and improving their lot—or at least maintaining their current level—will be difficult for the Jazz.

The Frenchman is owed $123 million over the next three seasons and has a $46.7 million player option for 2025-26. That's a steep price to pay for a more traditional center who doesn't space the floor, thus giving interested suitors some leverage in negotiations.

But jettisoning Gobert would also send a message to Mitchell that he's the unquestioned face of the franchise moving forward. That might be enough to keep him happy for the time being, thus allowing Utah to avoid a painful teardown.