We recently heard that the Jazz and Knicks had restarted conversations surrounding a potential Donovan Mitchell deal. The Jazz would reportedly be fine with keeping Mitchell, but it is clear that the preferred direction of Danny Ainge and the front office, is to move Mitchell, acquire as many assets as possible, and rebuild. The Knicks, to the surprise of some non-Knicks fans, have smartly been hesitant on giving in to the steep asking price from the Jazz which is why we are here. Up until now, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that if Mitchell would be wearing any jersey other than a Jazz one this upcoming season, it’d be a Knicks one. However, the Jazz reportedly have a couple offers that they are very interested in. While no teams have been directly linked to the report, the belief among those in the league is that it is the Charlotte Hornets and the Washington Wizards who have now put themselves in the Mitchell sweepstakes.
REPORT: The Utah Jazz have offers for Donovan Mitchell “...from other teams outside of NY that they like an awful lot…”— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) August 18, 2022
(via @spencechecketts, @andyblarsen, https://t.co/ibStY05Lho) pic.twitter.com/OOLx2FUkqa
And what fun would a trade rumor be without an appearance from the mystery team?
“I was told that one of the teams has not been reported…Any idea on who this other mystery team is?“— New York Basketball (@NBA_NewYork) August 23, 2022
— Utah sports radio host Spence Checketts and Jazz reporter Andy Larsen speculate whether Orlando, Memphis and others could be Donovan Mitchell suitors: https://t.co/MvGZUBhukh pic.twitter.com/vyOTSIxsCB
This could sound like bad news. It could mean that the Knicks miss out on Mitchell, and perhaps he ends up going to a team that they would have to compete with for one of the lower playoff seeds. It would be painful having to go up against Mitchel in meaningful games. There would inevitably be people complaining about the front office, and how the Knicks are always lousy losers.
However, to be honest, this may not be that bad. This could just be one big, fat lie. Danny Ainge and the Jazz could very easily have leaked this in an attempt to make the Knicks front office panic. This wouldn’t be the first time someone has pulled this negotiation tactic. But Leon Rose and Co. have been pretty smart with the way they’ve handled things, and I don’t believe that they’d be tricked into making a deal just because of the threat of other teams. If Rose really wanted this deal to be complete, it would have already. If they ultimately decide they don’t like the deal overall, they won’t do it. That should be fine for Knicks fans. Bringing in Mitchell should only be done if the Knicks don’t have to give up too much. Now, the definition of “too much” differs depending on who you ask, but the takeaway is that this isn’t a do-or-die situation.
The Jazz are asking for too much at the moment. If someone else can meet their demands — mystery team or otherwise — then so be it. The Knicks can continue on the path they have been on: build around RJ Barrett, continue to develop Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, and Quentin Grimes, and use their abundance of picks to draft well or package it for someone else down the line when the roster is closer to being an actual contender.