We reported on Monday that the Knicks had offered the Jazz a package of Evan Fournier, Obi Toppin and five total draft picks for Donovan Mitchell. While fans have been on the fence about a potential deal for the three-time All-Star, a lot of fans seem to be okay with bringing in the New York native if the Knicks were able to do so without giving up too much. Fournier is owed $18 million over the next two seasons so it makes perfect sense to want to unload his contract and send him out. As for Toppin, while fans have fallen in love with him, there’s been mixed reports about how the Knicks front office and Tom Thibodeau view him. And if he is just going to be used sparingly with a very short leash like he was last year, then as sad as it would be to see him go, it probably makes sense to trade him while his value is on the higher side as well. But there still is no deal imminent because the Jazz still want more and the Knicks aren’t budging. So what are the options?
The Jazz want a "significant" upgrade from what the Knicks are currently offering for Donovan Mitchell, per @ShamsCharania— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 22, 2022
The Knicks have offered Evan Fournier, Obi Toppin and five first-round picks for Mitchell pic.twitter.com/EH0LVviN5s
The initial reports were that the Jazz were insisting that they wouldn’t finalize a trade that didn’t include Quentin Grimes, but the Knicks were hesitant on including him. Most likely seeing how little traction that got, recent reports suggest the Jazz are targeting fourth-year wing RJ Barrett, which is a bit more worrying for Knicks fans. While there were reports earlier on that shed light on the Knicks reluctance to include Barrett in a deal, there seems to have been a surprising change in that stance among some in the decision-making brass. This development has a lot of fans upset — and rightfully so! If the Knicks include either of them in a trade for Mitchell, the Knicks would just have two undersized guards that aren’t great defenders with little to no scoring or defense coming from their wings. Sure, they could add a few wins to their regular season total but it’s not a move worth making and definitely not one that a team looking to stay young, flexible, and build a franchise capable of sustained success would make.
"Utah certainly seeks RJ Barrett in a deal...they would like to get Barrett back."@IanBegley on where discussions stand with the Jazz and the Knicks on a Donovan Mitchell trade: https://t.co/FOMYr1cHcl pic.twitter.com/euIvkZ1WGy— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) August 24, 2022
There are certainly other ways to make this potential trade go down. If the Knicks want to make this trade happen, and do so without giving up too many players, then they would have to give up more draft picks. Apparently, only two of the five draft picks that the Knicks offered were unprotected which is nowhere near the Jazz’s rumored asking price of four unprotected picks. And if the Knicks are unwilling to include Barrett, the Jazz may end up asking for even more picks. Making this potential deal even more difficult is the fact that Kevin Durant has agreed to stay in Brooklyn, meaning a few of the teams that were interested in going after Durant could now turn their focus on making a deal with the Jazz. Ainge is supposedly intrigued by the packages he could receive from a few other teams and this could drive up the price for the Knicks.
At the end of the day, it still seems to be the consensus that the Knicks have the best potential package. The Knicks know that and the Jazz know that so it will ultimately come down to New York to close the deal if they really want to. But as stated over and over again, New York needs to be cautious not to give up too much. Leon Rose and Co. have smartly drawn the line in terms of their offer, and should be very comfortable daring Ainge to take lesser deals from the other teams.