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REPORT: Jazz taking calls for Donovan Mitchell; Knicks expected to build a trade package

The Jazz have changed their position and might entertain a full rebuild instead of a retool, potentially trading their franchise player

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New York Knicks v Utah Jazz Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

According to Adrian Wojnarowski from ESPN, the Utah Jazz are now willing to take calls for Donovan Mitchell trade offers.

While the Jazz first made it known that the franchise was not interested in entering a full rebuild after trading Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves, two weeks after that report things have taken a 180-degree turn.

What initially seemed to be a retooling job for the Jazz brass is now turning into a full rebuilding effort—assuming Mitchell gets moved down the road when/if the right offer arrives at Salt Lake City’s offices. Of course, that might take a while to shape and there is a very high chance it doesn’t do any time soon provided the massive haul and godfather offer it took Minny to trade for now-former Jazz Rudy Gobert.

Mitchell, who is under contract for the next three seasons and also has a fourth-year player option attached to it, would command an extraordinary package in order for Utah to move him in a trade. Gobert fetched four players and five first-round picks, all of the latter falling in the 2023 to 2029 span. Gobert, as magnificent a player he is, is already 30 years old and entering the declining part of his career. Mitchell, on the other hand, is about to enter his age-26 season while having a very reasonable contract.

More interesting than Woj’s words, though, are those shared by Utah Jazz General Manager Justin Zanik. “Things evolve in the NBA,” Zanik said. “So I couldn’t sit here and say anyone is untouchable. But there is no intent here to trade Mitchell.” That might still be the case, although the Jazz now is seemingly more open to the possibility of entertaining offers and eventually moving their most priced asset for the right price.

The Athletic’s Jazz beat writer Tony Jones took no time in highlighting one particular team capable of building a strong-enough package that could entice Utah: your beloved New York Knickerbockers.

The links between the Elmsford native, Westchester-raised Mitchell and the Knicks are nothing new, and there have been rumors about a potential reunion turning into a reality going for months—years, maybe?—now. Mitchell is also represented by the CAA, which is the one Leon Rose ran before taking on the Knicks president duties. Both men have a solidly established relationship that could help bridge the gap between SLC and New York in terms of the appeal for the player to move from the former city to the latter.

Even then, though, Jones went on to clarify the report by saying that, effectively, Utah is still just listening to trade offers while staying put in their “retool-not-rebuild” approach after trading Rudy Gobert, thus intending to keep Mitchell in SLC for the remainder of his deal unless, of course, the guard asks for a trade—which he has not yet.

Salary-cap expert Yossi Gozlan from HoopsHype broke the potential trove of assets in possession of the Knicks and what New York could offer Utah to poach Mitchell from the Jazz. That’d be eight first-round picks, to start with, along with the likes of established stars such as Julius Randle, up-and-coming youngsters such as RJ Barrett, and promising-but-unproven players like Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, and Quentin Grimes.

Given Mitchell’s current salary of $30 million, the Knicks could be a little bit limited when it comes to the deals they can offer to acquire the combo guard. Julius Randle is going to make around $23 million next year with Barret cashing in nearly $11, Derrick Rose $14.5, and Evan Fournier $18. Other than those, the rest of the Knicks players are all going to make fewer than $6 million with Obi Toppin and Cam Reddish the only two players to make more than $2.5 million in the 2022-23 season.

If New York wants to trade for Donovan Mitchell, they surely could build a megalithic package mostly based around first-round draft picks, though matching the salaries could be harder depending on the players the Knicks would be comfortable giving away and the willingness of Utah to get someone like Evan Fournier or Derrick Rose in return.

The Knicks already signed a point-guard in Jalen Brunson and have both a veteran (Evan Fournier) and a youngster (Quentin Grimes) expected to battle for shooting-guard minutes, though adding Donovan Mitchell to the rotation would be an absolute game-changing move by New York—that is, of course, without taking into account the collateral damage of sending one or multiple starters the other way—so we’ll just wait and see if the front office decides to go all-in for Spida or keep up their developmental approach to turn the Knicks into a contender.

One thing, though, is very clear these days: unless you’re named Bradley Beal, no one is untradable and safe in the current NBA landscape.


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