The Utah Jazz indicated they will not trade Donovan ‘Spida” Mitchell, and they will try to rebuild a team around their superstar after they traded away big man Rudy Gobert for a huge haul from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Mitchell hinted that he wanted out of Utah and there were rumors that the New York Knicks would acquire Spida in a trade with the Jazz. Mitchell grew up right over the city line in Westchester County and loved the Knicks. Fans hoped Mitchell could fulfill a lifelong dream of playing for his hometown team and drop 50-plus points on a regular basis at Madison Square Garden.
With Spida rumors rattling Gotham, the Knicks made several bold moves on draft night and swapped out the #11 pick for three future first-rounders from the OKC Thunder. The Knicks have a stockpile of draft capital, but it looks like Mitchell is off the table because the Jazz insist they will not trade him to New York, or any team for that matter.
The Jazz recently hired Will Hardy as their new head coach. With a rookie coach at the helm, the Jazz are +10000 odds to win 2023 NBA championship. They just missed a spot in the bottom ten of title long shots, where the Knicks can be found at +15000 odds.
Jazz Keep Spida, T-Wolves Gamble on Gobert
Gobert wore out his welcome with the Jazz. The locker room and coaching staff grew tired of his abrasive personality. Gobert and Mitchell had a huge falling out that the team did a poor job trying to hide. When NBA Twitter discovered the stats that Mitchell refused to pass to Gobert, it nearly blew up the internet. Clearly their locker room beef and spilled onto the court. Head coach Quin Snyder decided to retire prematurely to avoid coaching another drama-drenched season in Utah with a fractured locker room.
When the season ended, the Jazz said they were shopping Rudy Gobert in a trade to appease Mitchell. They Jazz had no problems trading Gobert to the highest bidder. The Minnesota Timberwolves gave up two starters, a couple of bench players, an incoming rookie first-rounder and four future first round picks to acquire the three-time defensive player of the year. The Timberwolves gambled that Gobert is the missing piece of the puzzle to go along with Karl-Anthony Townes, Anthony Edwards, and D’Angelo Russell. Gobert and Towns are Minny’s version of the Twin Towers and hope that will make them a contender in the Western Conference.
The betting public did not take the bait. The Timberwolves saw a slight bump in their title odds, but they’re still only +3500 odds to win the 2023 NBA championship. The Western Conference is still stacked with strong squads like the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavs, Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies, and Phoenix Suns. If the LA Lakers can swap Russell Westbrook for Kyrie Irving, they could also inflict some damage in the top-heavy west. Sure, the addition of Gobert makes the Timberwolves a much better defensive squad, but they still have a slew of competition.
Jazz Hire Pops Disciple
Give Danny Ainge a lot of credit. He stepped in and made the correct decision to jettison the problem child in Gobert. Sure, the Jazz lost a premier defender and the top rim protector in the NBA, but they were able to fleece the Timberwolves in the process. After wisely trading Gobert and standing pat with Mitchell, Ainge now has to cobble together a team to stay competitive, or the Jazz can tank next season and hope they can hit the lottery by drafting Victor Wembanyama. In case they don’t secure the #1 pick, the Jazz have extra first rounders to buy their way into the top spot in the 2023 NBA Draft.
After Snyder bounced, Ainge made a wise decision to not recycle an old head coach and chose to fill the Jazz’s head coaching vacancy with an up-and-coming assistant coach. Ainge called up his old team — the Boston Celtics — and hired away their top assistant coach.
The Jazz tapped Will Hardy to replace Snyder. Hardy became the NBA’s youngest active head coach at 34-years old, and even though he lacks experience, he’s a part of the Gregg Popovich coaching tree. Ainge thinks Hardy can be the NBA’s equivalent of Sean McVay from the NFL. The LA Rams hired McVay — who had zero experience as a head coach but had an innovative take on the modern game — and he went from the youngest coach in the league to a Super Bowl champion within a couple of years.
KD and Spida?
The Brooklyn Nets have their hands full with trying to trade two disgruntled superstars. Kevin Durant asked the Nets to trade him and considering how much the Jazz got in return for Gobert, the Nets are expecting a huge payday for Durant. Some folks think Durant is the best player in the NBA, even his biggest haters will admit he’s in the top three or four in the league. Durant can make a normal team a legit title contender. So why not the Jazz?
Durant said he wanted the Nets to trade him to the Phoenix Suns or Miami Heat so he could try to win another title. The Nets are reluctant to trade Durant to a team within their conference like the Heat, so the Suns look like the most likely landing spot.
DraftKings offers a prop bet where the Suns as the favorite to land Durant at +110 odds, but the Toronto Raptors are +400 odds ahead of the Heat at +1200 odds. The Raptors have the fewest hurdles to make a deal with the Nets happen, but will Durant want to play north of the border in Canada?
The Jazz are +4000 odds to add Durant in a trade, which puts them in the middle of the pack. They’re loaded with draft picks after the Gobert trade, including a first-rounder from the Nets after they shipped Royce O’Neal to Brooklyn last week. However, Durant did not list Salt Lake City very high on his list of dream places to live. So, a pairing with Mitchell and Durant in Utah seems very unlikely.
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