If the New York Knicks do make a trade for Donovan Mitchell, head coach Tom Thibodeau apparently has a preference for which of the team's young players should be included.
Per Marc Berman of the New York Post, there is a belief around the NBA that Thibodeau would prefer to include RJ Barrett in a deal instead of Quentin Grimes because he is a better defender and three-point shooter.
By not wanting to include Grimes, the Knicks appear to be decreasing their chances of pulling off a deal for Mitchell at this point.
Berman noted Utah Jazz CEO of basketball operations Danny Ainge is "hot" to add Grimes as part of his rebuilding plan for the franchise.
"One individual believes Grimes would likely be amenable to joining Utah since a Brunson-Mitchell backcourt would be a roadblock to ever becoming a Knicks starter," Berman wrote.
Earlier this week, Shams Charania and Tony Jones of The Athletic that the Knicks and Jazz have had a "fresh conversation" about a Mitchell trade recently, but there's "no traction" on a deal right now.
Charania and Jones added the Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards are also pursuing Mitchell, but a trade involving the three-time All-Star is not imminent.
When rumors about Mitchell potentially being on the trade block began in July, SNY's Ian Begley reported the Knicks had "no interest" in moving Barrett in any deal.
Begley also noted the Knicks were reluctant to trade a combination of picks and players because people within the organization were concerned they wouldn't have enough left on the roster to field a competitive team.
Barrett and Grimes are both 22 years old, but their contract status is very different. Barrett, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, can become a restricted free agent after this season. He averaged a career-high 20.0 points per game in 70 starts last season.
Grimes was the No. 25 overall pick in the 2021 draft and has two team option years left on his rookie contract before hitting restricted free agency after the 2024-25 season. The 6'5" shooting guard averaged 6.0 points in 46 games as a rookie, but he shot 38.1 percent from three-point range on 4.1 attempts per contest.
The Knicks finished 37-45 in 2021-22 and have missed the playoffs in eight of the past nine seasons.