NBA Rumors: Teams Tried to 'Pounce' on Donovan Mitchell After Jazz Traded Rudy Gobert

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 11, 2022

Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Some teams around the NBA reportedly smelled blood in the water after the Utah Jazz traded Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Salt Lake Tribune's Andy Larsen reported Sunday that "more than a handful of teams called the Jazz to inquire about" their willingness to trade Donovan Mitchell.

"Those conversations, the Jazz felt, were league executives trying to pounce on a perceived opportunity to trade for Mitchell cheaply," Larsen wrote, adding that Utah rebuffed any outside interest.

Prior to sending Gobert to Minnesota, Utah acquired a 2023 first-round pick for Royce O'Neale, who has been a dependable three-and-D player. The structure of that deal was surprising since the Jazz are seemingly still trying to contend under first-year head coach Will Hardy.

Then the details of the Gobert swap surfaced. Utah flipped the three-time All-Star for four first-round picks, a 2026 pick swap and a player haul of Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Leandro Bolmaro, Walker Kessler and Jarred Vanderbilt.

Maybe general manager Justin Zanik uses Beverley, Vanderbilt and Beasley plus picks to land another star, but the Jazz's offseason reshuffle following the departure of head coach Quin Snyder could be a total rebuild.

If that's the case, then Mitchell may not be long for Salt Lake City.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported Saturday that Utah was making it clear Mitchell isn't going anywhere and that the 25-year-old guard is "focused on playing for the Jazz." However, Windhorst speculated the situation could change as the year unfolds.

Larsen echoed that uncertainty when he reported, "There is some skepticism among competing teams that the Jazz will be keeping Mitchell for the long term."

Utah can believably maintain its commitment to Mitchell and winning now. Following a third first-round exit in four seasons, the roster needed changes, and one of Gobert or Mitchell had to go.

While reinforcements are still needed, Zanik has allowed himself a lot of flexibility to make another major move.

But even if that's the front office's plan, it won't cool off Mitchell's trade market anytime soon.


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