Donovan Mitchell Trade Rumors: Knicks' Quentin Grimes Could be Coveted in Talks

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 1, 2022

Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

If the New York Knicks and Utah Jazz are going to remain engaged in trade talks revolving around star guard Donovan Mitchell, it seems unlikely that RJ Barrett will be in them after he signed a four-year extension with the Knicks worth up to $120 million.

That deal came with a poison pill provision that would seriously complicate the salary matching needed for a Mitchell trade. But the Knicks aren't devoid of other trade chips, and young wing Quentin Grimes could be the key to still getting a deal done, per Ian Begley of SNY:

"Based on what I'd heard from people briefed on the talks, I'd expect Utah to covet Grimes in any current/future talks. Utah had sought one of Grimes, Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley in packages that included Barrett. So I'd assume that the Jazz would want at least two of those players in any deal moving forward. The sticking point will probably be Grimes and the value of the first-round picks New York is willing to include. In prior talks, the Jazz wanted New York to increase its offer of two unprotected picks in various packages discussed."

Grimes, 22, appeared in 46 games for the Knicks last season after being the No. 25 overall pick by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2021 NBA draft—he was traded to New York in a draft-night swap—averaging six points, two rebounds and an assist in 17.1 minutes per game.

Injuries and a bout with COVID-19 limited his overall game time, however.

But Grimes impressed during this offseason's summer league, averaging 22.6 points per game, and marked himself as a key part of New York's future. Or, potentially, Utah's future if he's one of the headliners in a Mitchell deal.

Whether Utah and New York can find a middle ground in negotiations remains to be seen. Per Begley: "The Knicks had been unwilling to meet Utah’s high asking price (picks and players) in any packages that didn't include Barrett. Will that change now that Barrett is off the table? It's more likely that the Knicks engage a third team that can send draft compensation to Utah."

The Jazz aren't being forced to trade Mitchell, of course, but after dealing away Rudy Gobert and Patrick Beverley, they appear to be in a full rebuilding mode. That would make moving on from Mitchell a logical next step. Stars in their prime generally avoid being around for the rebuild.

The Knicks, meanwhile, could trot out a starting five of Jalen Brunson, Mitchell, Barrett, Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson if they swung a deal with Utah. That lineup wouldn't be perfect—there would be some questions about how the team's perimeter defense would hold up, and floor spacing might be an issue—but the talent would be indisputable.

Landing the sort of star player the Knicks have lacked since the Carmelo Anthony days, however, may require a major haul of draft picks. While players like Grimes, Toppin and Quickley offer potential, the Jazz will likely want the future flexibility and pulls of the draft lottery slot machine that future picks provide.

For Grimes, a move to Utah would likely offer more playing time on a young, rebuilding team than he would get in a reserve role for the Knicks. But it's a moot point if the two sides can't come to terms on the draft compensation being exchanged.


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