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Donovan Mitchell Trade Rumors: Knicks 'Hopeful' for Deal Without Including RJ Barrett

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVAugust 30, 2022

Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

When ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the New York Knicks and RJ Barrett agreed to a four-year rookie extension that could be worth up to $120 million, thoughts immediately turned to the Donovan Mitchell trade discussions with the Utah Jazz.

It turns out those may not be over.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks remain "hopeful" they can complete a trade for Mitchell without including Barrett and wouldn't have even agreed to the contract extension if they felt it ended the chances of landing the three-time All-Star.

Wojnarowski reported New York and Utah recently "closed [the] gap on deal points in recent days," but Knicks president Leon Rose had a Monday deadline for a deal before he would commit to the extension with Barrett.

Berman listed Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes and Evan Fournier as potential players who could go back to Utah in a Barrett-less deal and noted Jazz president Danny Ainge wants four unprotected first-round picks for Mitchell.

That may require a third team to complete—with Berman highlighting the Los Angeles Lakers—but it seems Mitchell to the Knicks is still potentially on the table.

Such a trade would mean the Knicks added Mitchell and Jalen Brunson this offseason while signing Barrett to a long-term extension. That trio, along with Julius Randle, could infuse some much-needed optimism in the major market after a 37-45 season that ended without a playoff appearance.

There may still be questions on defense, but that is enough talent to potentially win just a second postseason series since the 1999-2000 campaign.

As for Utah, the desire to land so many unprotected draft picks, including potentially future ones from the Lakers, comes as no surprise.

After all, the team is in rebuilding mode after head coach Quin Snyder stepped down from his position and Rudy Gobert was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Even keeping Mitchell wouldn't be enough to realistically contend in the daunting Western Conference, and that type of draft capital could help Ainge build a long-term contender while the team struggles in the immediate future.

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