If the New York Knicks are going to acquire All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz, they reportedly may have to do it without the inclusion of Julius Randle.
Appearing Wednesday on SiriusXM NBA Radio's Give & Go, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said the Jazz don't want Randle, but they do want RJ Barrett and six first-round draft picks:
Tommy Beer @TommyBeer
Stephen A Smith on SiriumXM w/ <a href="https://twitter.com/RickKamlaSports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RickKamlaSports</a> this afternoon when asked about potential Mitchell deal:<br><br>"Utah didn't want Julius Randle, from what I'm told. They don't want him. The Knicks were willing to unload him. They want RJ Barrett. They want at least 6 1st-round picks." <a href="https://t.co/9Nn7DuwlZe">pic.twitter.com/9Nn7DuwlZe</a>
Mitchell has reportedly been on the trade block since shortly after the Jazz dealt All-Star center Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a blockbuster trade in July, and the Knicks have been the team most closely associated to the talented guard.
New York was initially viewed as the front-runner for Mitchell, but things went silent on that front until recently.
On Tuesday, Shams Charania and Tony Jones of The Athletic reported the Jazz and Knicks had re-engaged in trade talks with the Knicks making a new offer, although there was still "no traction" between the two sides on a deal.
Charania and Jones also reported that the Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards are in on the Mitchell sweepstakes.
There is perhaps no team in the NBA with more ammo needed to land Mitchell than the Knicks, mainly because of the draft compensation they can offer.
The Knicks have eight first-round picks that are eligible to be traded, plus they have some high-upside, young players on their roster such as Quentin Grimes, Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley.
If the Jazz want Barrett involved in a trade for Mitchell, that is likely a sticking point for the Knicks, as they would undoubtedly like for Mitchell, Barrett and Jalen Brunson to be their core.
The 22-year-old Barrett was the No. 3 pick in the 2019 NBA draft, and he is coming off a strong season that saw him set career highs across the board with 20.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 three-pointers made per game.
Randle was an All-Star and won the NBA's Most Improved Player Award two seasons ago, but he took a step back last season and would perhaps be viewed by the Jazz as a salary dump.
While Randle averaged 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game last season, he shot just 41.1 percent from the field and clearly wasn't the same player who led the Knicks to the playoffs one season earlier.
At 27, Randle has reached veteran status, and trading a young, three-time All-Star in Mitchell is a sign that the Jazz want to rebuild rather than take in experienced players.
Utah is under no obligation to trade Mitchell since he is under contract through at least 2025, meaning the Jazz may be content to wait it out in anticipation of the Knicks upping their offer once the start of the 2022-23 season draws closer.