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Donovan Mitchell Trade Rumors: Knicks Offered Evan Fournier, Obi Toppin and 5 Picks

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVAugust 22, 2022

Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

The Utah Jazz and New York Knicks reportedly remain at a stalemate in Donovan Mitchell trade talks.

Shams Charania and Tony Jones of The Athletic reported the Jazz have asked for a "significant" upgrade from the Knicks' current offer of Evan Fournier, Obi Toppin and five future first-round picks. Only two of those future picks come without protections.

The Knicks can offer up to eight future first-round picks in any trade. It's made abundantly clear they do not want to strip their coffers bare to land Mitchell, who is a three-time All-Star but has never made an All-NBA team.

Trading for Mitchell presents a conundrum for the Knicks. He would clearly be a massive upgrade from the guards on their roster, but Mitchell also isn't the type of talent who can vault a lottery team into title contention. Surrounded by a stellar supporting cast and the best defensive big man of his generation, the five-year veteran has never led the Jazz beyond the second round of the playoffs.

For the Knicks to sensibly cash in all their trade assets for Mitchell, they would need a player better than him already in place. They don't have said player. Mitchell would be leading a roster co-starring Julius Randle, R.J. Barrett and Jalen Brunson—not exactly what anyone would call a championship core. Those Knicks would likely settle in as the fifth- or sixth-best team in the Eastern Conference, which isn't the type of result that makes meeting the Jazz's current asking price palatable.

The Knicks would also be smart to avoid bidding against themselves. While there are several other teams with varying levels of interest in Mitchell, no team (beyond an unrealistic destination like Oklahoma City) can match New York's available draft-pick compensation. The Jazz emphasized picks over players in the trade that sent Rudy Gobert to Minnesota; it would stand to reason they'd do the same in a Mitchell deal.

Utah has Mitchell under contract through at least the 2024-25 season, which does lend a little bit of leverage. Mitchell also appears willing to play things out in Utah if no deal is struck.

That said, if adding a sweetener like Immanuel Quickley or Quentin Grimes isn't enough to get the job done, it might be a better long-term play for the Knicks to sit this one out and take a more macro view of their future.

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