Just last week, we reported that the Utah Jazz weren’t looking to trade Donovan “Spida” Mitchell despite rumors that he was headed to the New York Knicks. Now, however, Shams Charania from The Athletic reports the Jazz and Knicks are negotiating a deal involving a slew of draft picks.
The Jazz recently made a huge trade when they dealt Rudy Gobert — the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year — to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a massive haul that involved four first-round draft picks and a handful of players. After the Gobert trade, Jazz general manager Justin Zanik said they were going to stand pat with Mitchell and look to rebuild the team around the All-Star.
However, trade talks between the Knicks and Jazz heated up in the last 24 hours when both parties met in Las Vegas during the NBA Summer League.
Meanwhile, Quentin Grimes from the Knicks was lighting up the summer league, which tipped the Knicks’ hand that they were showcasing Grimes for potential suitors like the Jazz.
In five seasons with the Jazz, Mitchell averaged at least 20 ppg. He averaged 25.9 points, 5.3 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game last season. He appeared in 67 games and missed a couple of weeks of action with a concussion.
Mitchell was born in Elmsford, New York, and grew up in Westchester County. He always hinted that he’d love to play for his hometown Knicks.
Knicks with picks
The Knicks stockpiled first-round picks for this exact scenario. On draft night, the Knicks made a couple of unconventional moves in order to acquire as many first-round picks as possible to clear cap space to sign Jalen Brunson and pursue Mitchell. They acquired three first-rounders for trading the #11 pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and then dumped Kemba Walker and a fistful of second-rounders to the Detroit Pistons.
The Knicks miscalculated last offseason when they signed Evan Fournier and Walker to upgrade their backcourt. The move backfired. Walker was a step slower than in his peak years with Charlotte Hornets, while Fournier lacked consistency on both ends of the court.
Between a terrible season from Julius Randle and the subpar performance from the Walker/Fournier backcourt, the Knicks had one of the least efficient starting five in the NBA. The second unit often dug the starters out of an early hole in the first and third quarters.
Adding Brunson in free agency provided the Knicks with their best point guard prospect in decades. If they add Mitchell, the Knicks will pull off a huge coup by significantly improving their backcourt.
The Knicks don’t want to include RJ Barrett in a trade, but fans would love to see the Jazz take Randle off their hands. Jazz president Danny Ainge says he’s less interested in veterans — especially mediocre ones with hefty contracts — and more interested in draft picks and younger players. Grimes, Jericho Sims, Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, and incoming rookie Trevor Keels were young members of the Knicks mentioned in a trade to the Jazz for Mitchell.
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