After dealing Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier this summer for a massive haul, Danny Ainge and the Utah Jazz are looking for an even bigger return for Donovan Mitchell.
Mitchell has been heavily linked to the New York Knicks since the Jazz began listening to trade offers for the veteran guard shortly after dealing Gobert. However, the Knicks were "turned off" by Ainge's initial trade demands, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Last month, Ainge requested a package of seven first-round picks in exchange for Mitchell, according to NBA insider Marc Stein. New York has eight tradable first-round selections at its disposal.
That is an enormous asking price, and the Knicks, while heavily intrigued by Mitchell, are concerned about "giving away too many future assets" because it will leave them without enough to contend for a title in the future, according to Berman.
New York made a series of trades during the 2022 draft to clear the cap space necessary to sign Jalen Brunson, but it could lose a first-round pick as punishment if the NBA finds in its investigation that the franchise tampered in its pursuit and signing of the former Dallas Mavericks guard.
In addition to draft picks, the Jazz are also searching for players in exchange for Mitchell, according to Berman, who cites a belief around the NBA that head coach Tom Thibodeau would prefer to give up R.J. Barrett over Quentin Grimes in a package.
"Thibodeau pushed for Grimes in the 2021 draft and thinks he could make a good fit in a Mitchell-Brunson scenario," Berman wrote.
While trade talks between the two sides initially had died down, Berman reported that "there has been renewed back-and-forth."
The Knicks are set to enter the 2022-23 campaign with a starting rotation that includes Brunson, Barrett, Evan Fournier, Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson. They also have solid depth pieces in Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley and Cam Reddish.
However, adding Mitchell could take New York from a playoff team to an Eastern Conference contender.
The 25-year-old has been a staple in Utah's lineup since his rookie year in the 2017-18 season and is coming off an impressive 2021-22 campaign in which he averaged 25.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 67 games while shooting 44.8 percent from the floor and 35.5 percent from deep.
Over his five seasons with the Jazz, he has earned three All-Star selections, which all have come over the last three seasons. He was also named to the 2017-18 All-Rookie Team.
In addition to the Knicks, the Miami Heat have also been involved in trade discussions for Mitchell.