The Utah Jazz have changed course and are now showing a willingness to listen to trade offers for All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. For the past few weeks, the Jazz have been telling teams Mitchell was not available, but that is no longer the case.
“Change is inevitable in the NBA,” Jazz GM Justin Zanik said during a news conference Saturday, via ESPN. “I’m not trying to be cryptic or anything else, but Donovan is on our roster and he’s a very, very important part of what we’re trying to do. Things evolve in the NBA, so I couldn’t sit here and say anybody is [untouchable]. We’re trying to build a championship team, but there’s no intent [to trade Mitchell], at all.”
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Early this month, the Jazz made a blockbuster trade that sent Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro, No. 22 pick Walker Kessler and four first-round picks — three of which are unprotected in 2023, 2025 and 2027.
That trade, among other moves such as parting ways with long-time head coach Quin Snyder and trading Royce O’Neale to the Brooklyn Nets for a first-round pick, seemed to signal a rebuild was coming in Utah. However, in order to fully tear things down and start over, they need to trade Mitchell as well. While the Jazz are still being a bit coy, it seems that will now happen sooner rather than later.
The question, though, is which team will be willing to pay the price? Mitchell is coming off a disappointing performance in the playoffs, but he’s still a 25-year-old three-time All-Star who finished 13th in the league in scoring last season at 25.9 points per game. The Jazz are going to set a steep asking price, especially after the haul they got in the Gobert deal. At least one highly rated young player plus draft picks would seem like a likely starting point.
One possible destination for Mitchell is Madison Square Garden. The New York Knicks have been linked to the guard on and off over the past few years, and are expected to put together an offer, according to Tony Jones. After trading out of the lottery and signing Jalen Brunson in free agency, the Knicks have signaled that they want to be competitive and get back to the playoffs. A Brunson-Mitchell backcourt would be intriguing, and the Knicks have the requisite draft capital and prospects to make a compelling offer.
Another team to watch out for is the Miami Heat, who have registered their interest, per Ira Winderman. They could really use one more scorer to go alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, and we know Pat Riley is always aggressive. However, Riley does not have a good relationship with Jazz president Danny Ainge, and it’s unclear if a deal centered around Tyler Herro — Miami’s best young trade chip — would be enough.
Whether Mitchell winds up in New York, Miami or another location, the fact that two teams have already been identified as suitors is an indication that he’s drawing a lot of interest around the league. And for good reason. Players at his age and with his abilities don’t become available all that often.