On Tuesday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that rival teams have indicated that the Utah Jazz are "showing a willingness to listen on possible trade scenarios" involving star guard Donovan Mitchell.
The Athletic's Tony Jones followed up on that report by noting that the New York Knicks are expected to be one of the most aggressive suitors for Mitchell:
Any such deal won't come cheap for the Knicks, with Woj also reporting that "the asking price appears to be steep, but in the wake of Utah's recent Rudy Gobert blockbuster deal to Minnesota, the Jazz are no longer simply dismissing calls on Mitchell, sources said."
The Jazz landed Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro, 2022 No. 22 overall pick Walker Kessler, three unprotected picks (2023, 2025 and 2027) and a top-five-protected pick in 2029 from Minnesota for Gobert.
Given that Mitchell (25) is five years younger than Gobert (30), under contract for three more seasons (with a player option for a fourth season in 2025) and is arguably a better player than Gobert, the Jazz will be expecting to get back a monster deal for the three-time All-Star.
Tony Jones @Tjonesonthenba
Let’s be clear about this: the Jazz are currently not close to a Donovan Mitchell trade. And much like Gobert, they have no issues whatsoever in keeping him. Either a team is going to meet the bar to make this a convo, or he will be with the Jazz. They are not giving him away
The first sticking point in the potential discussions between the Knicks and Jazz would likely be whether RJ Barrett is untouchable or one of the pieces New York would be willing to move.
The Knicks have no shortage of other contracts they could send back to the Jazz to match Mitchell's $30.3 million salary next season, with or without Barrett in the fold. Evan Fournier ($18 million), Derrick Rose ($14.5 million), Cam Reddish ($5.9 million) and Obi Toppin ($5.3 million) could all help facilitate a move from a financial perspective, while young players like Immanuel Quickley ($2.3 million) and Quentin Grimes ($2.2 million) could also be used to sweeten the pot.
Given that the Jazz will be in a full rebuild if they move on from Mitchell, getting back substantial draft capital alongside intriguing young players will be the goal. On the draft-capital front, the Knicks own all of their own first-round picks for the foreseeable future, along with several they acquired from other teams:
- A first-round pick in 2023 from the Dallas Mavericks that will be top-10-protected in both 2024 and 2025 if it doesn't convey and will convert to a 2025 second-round pick after that.
- A first-round pick from the Detroit Pistons in 2023 that will become top-18-protected in 2024 if it doesn't convey, top-13-protected in 2025, top-11-protected in 2026 and top-nine-protected in 2027. If the pick still hasn't conveyed, Detroit will send the Knicks a 2027 second-rounder.
- A top-14-protected first-round pick from the Washington Wizards in 2023 with the following protections after that: 1-12 in 2024, 1-10 in 2025 and 1-8 in 2026. If the pick doesn't convey by then, the Wizards will send the Knicks a second-round selection in both 2026 and 2027.
- A 2025 first-round pick from the Milwaukee Bucks (protected 1-4).
Yossi Gozlan @YossiGozlan
Knicks can trade up to eight first-round picks -- four of their own, and four owed by other teams. They should be able to meet Utah's price for Donovan Mitchell with their combination of first-round picks and young players. <a href="https://t.co/WG3GjYpl1P">https://t.co/WG3GjYpl1P</a>
So if the Knicks decide they simply must have Mitchell, they'll be one of the teams with the ammunition to go get him. Other teams could offer more enticing young players—think the Toronto Raptors or Miami Heat if they were willing to part with Bam Adebayo—but the Knicks have the draft capital to be a real option in trade talks.
And a backcourt of Jalen Brunson and Mitchell would certainly give the fans at Madison Square Garden a reason to be excited.