The Jazz and Knicks have begun discussions on a potential trade to send three-time NBA All-Star Donovan Mitchell to New York, sources tell The Athletic.
The Jazz are having conversations with multiple teams on a Mitchell deal, but the Knicks have emerged as the focused destination over the past several days, sources said. Both sides have discussed a deal framework in the past 24 hours, those sources said.
The Knicks possess eight future first-round picks — four of their own and four acquired via trades — to use in a package. New York also has stockpiled young players, such as Quentin Grimes who is believed to be of interest to Utah, sources said.
If, as the saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire, this is like Cheech and Chong just stepped into the room circa 1978. The Knicks and the Jazz just match up far too well from a typical NBA trade perspective. The Knicks have a lot of picks and no stars, the Jazz have a star and not as many picks as they would like, so the Knicks trade the picks for the star, everybody wins. Of course, as we know, that’s not necessarily how these things end up going, as the “win now” move doesn’t always result in winning…now, but that is clearly the THEORY here, at least. And it is what drives most NBA trades. This would be a VERY typical NBA GM trade and, as I’ve been saying for a while, Leon Rose has struck me as a pretty middle of the road NBA GM, so this sounds about right. There’s no real reputational risk for Rose, since he’ll have acquired a STAR and people generally give you a lot of PR leeway for doing that.
Now, do Donovan Mitchell and Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett and Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson make remote sense as a starting five? No, not really, but we’ve all seen the roster so far, right? – the roster already doesn’t make sense! There are too many guys for not enough minutes, a consolidation trade was almost a given, and this is a consolidation trade that also lands the Knicks a star.
I figure we’re looking at Grimes, Fournier (for his salary to make the salaries work), one of IQ and Obi (maybe both) and five picks (two Knick picks and then three picks they acquired from other teams). The Jazz obviously want nothing to do with RJ considering he’s becoming a free agent himself soon (or will have to be extended this offseason). You don’t trade Donovan Mitchell to then rebuild around RJ Barrett. You rebuild around the high picks you’ll get and just surround those picks with interesting young supporting cast guys like IQ, OBi and Grimes.
I’ll be frank (but not that Frank), the Knicks before this trade seemed to have a low ceiling. With this trade they…also have a pretty low ceiling, but they’ll have a star, at least, even if he’s more around Top 20 than Top 10. He’ll probably average like, 30 points a game or some shit. And I won’t deny that there IS some logic to the idea that having Mitchell here makes it more likely that another star would force himself here to play with Mitchell the way that he would never do to play with RJ and Jalen Brunson (maybe Mitch and Sims). Do I see that as a LIKELY scenario? No, and Mitchell and Brunson are a terrible fit together and when you add RJ at the three, that’s a small ass team, with RJ and Mitch having to cover a lot of the defensive ground, but it will still be a pretty good team with some upside if Thibs can teach Mitchell how to play defense.
I don’t think this deal is that big of a deal. It wouldn’t be great, but it wouldn’t be awful, either.
You’d probably be looking at…
Mitchell (Hopefully still Quickley, at least?)
Use the room to add someone else (a wing? A shooter?) and you have yourself an interesting team and a pretty clear All-Star in Mitchell. He has a LOT of faults, but he has a lot of pluses, too, so I’m not too down on this trade (but, again, a lot of that is because I was already down on the Knicks’ future plans, so this isn’t any worse than that).
And, for this dramatic moment, we return the Knicks…poll!Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.