The Utah Jazz might intend to keep Donovan Mitchell as a centerpiece of the franchise, but that may not stop rival teams from making a run at the three-time All-Star.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday the Jazz are trading Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Ian Begley of SNY followed up to report "several teams still view Mitchell as attainable for the right return."
ESPN's Brian Windhorst also said on NBA Today some executives outside of Utah "think it would be abnormal for Donovan not to want out." He added teams are "revving up the possibility of calling Utah and seeing what it's gonna take to get [Mitchell]."
The initial framing from the Jazz is the they intend to keep Mitchell and reorient the roster around him.
Given how their relationship soured, Mitchell may not be heartbroken to see Gobert go. The return for the star center may not leave him feeling encouraged, though. He was already "surprised and disappointed" with the departure of head coach Quin Snyder, according to Wojnarowski.
Utah did great to get Minnesota's unprotected first-round picks in 2023, 2025 and 2027 and a top-five protected first-rounder in 2029, per Wojnarowski, but Mitchell won't really care about draft picks too much.
Swapping Gobert for Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro and 2022 first-rounder Walker Kessler doesn't help much in the short term, either.
The Gobert deal also came one day after Utah shipped Royce O'Neale to the Brooklyn Nets for a 2023 first-round selection.
Given all of the draft assets they've accumulated, general manager Justin Zanik and CEO of basketball operations Danny Ainge might be ready to blow it all up. With what the team got for Gobert, imagine the kind of haul Mitchell could command.
It's equally plausible Zanik and Ainge made the O'Neale and Gobert trades in order to get the picks and salary filler required to reel in a big fish to partner with Mitchell. Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton could be on the team's radar.
Kevin O'Connor @KevinOConnorNBA
This is true. I’ll add that the Jazz/Wolves/Suns had discussed 3-way deal structures. First heard that pre-draft in June when I reported on The Mismatch that Minnesota had interest in Gobert. A lot of moving pieces… <a href="https://t.co/gGlB3dFwBT">https://t.co/gGlB3dFwBT</a>
For competing organizations, it would be foolish not to at least gauge the Jazz's willingness to part with Mitchell.
The 25-year-old averaged 25.9 points and 5.3 assists and shot 44.8 percent from the field, and he's under contract for at least three more seasons with a $37.1 million player option for 2025-26.
And if Utah doesn't act quickly to strengthen its roster, it's not hard to see Mitchell growing a bit disgruntled and pushing for an exit.