Tuesday, April 23

Donovan Mitchell trade rumors: Knicks have emerged as Utah’s ‘focused destination’ for star guard, per report

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The New York Knicks have emerged as the focused destination for Donovan Mitchell in trade talks with the Utah Jazz, according to The Athletic. Trade talks for Mitchell have heated up in the past several days, but Mitchell has been linked to the Knicks for years. He grew up in the New York area and is represented by CAA, the same agency that was once run by Knicks president Leon Rose.

Utah’s decision to pursue a Mitchell trade became a strong possibility once they dealt fellow All-Star Rudy Gobert. The Jazz got a haul of draft picks back for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, and without veterans capable of winning with Mitchell, a rebuild became necessary. The Jazz are emphasizing draft picks in trade talks with New York, according to Shams Charania, and that makes plenty of sense intuitively. Utah seems to be trying to nudge its way into the race for star French prospect Victor Wembanyama, expected to be picked first in the 2023 NBA Draft. 

The Knicks, meanwhile, are attempting to acquire a star in his prime for the first time since landing Carmelo Anthony in 2011. Like Anthony, Mitchell is a New Yorker who would appreciate the gravity of becoming a Knick in his hometown. With free-agent signing Jalen Brunson, he would give the Knicks their best backcourt in years. 

The Miami Heat are also interested in Mitchell, according to Charania, but their draft limitations are an impediment to their pursuit. The Heat have only two tradable first-round picks at the moment, and while they could supplement their offer with Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro, he is due a hefty contract extension that limits his value on the trade market. He, too, would make an aggressive tank harder, so the Knicks are a sensible front-runner at this moment.

New York can offer as many as eight first-round picks in a deal for Mitchell: four of their own and four owned from other teams. It may not take that much to get Mitchell, but after Gobert netted four first-rounders, a swap and a player just taken in the first round, the notion of Mitchell getting six or seven picks is not out of the question. Quentin Grimes is another player Charania has mentioned as someone who interests the Jazz. There’s still a long way to go, but for now, the signs are starting to point towards Mitchell becoming New York’s new franchise player.

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