Here’s how a Kevin Durant trade could help the Knicks get Donovan Mitchell

While New York Knicks fans are still waiting for a possible Donovan Mitchell trade to happen, there’s something that could cause Danny Ainge to lower his asking price a bit. Ironically enough, if the Brooklyn Nets were to trade Kevin Durant before the start of the 2022-23 season, that could help the Knicks get Mitchell.

Ainge has set the asking price extremely high for Mitchell, which is because the Utah Jazz were able to get so much in return for Rudy Gobert. Now, Ainge is reportedly asking for at least seven first-round picks for Mitchell.

However, if the Nets do trade KD before a Donovan Mitchell deal happens, that could force the Jazz to make their demands more realistic. Durant would go for far more than Mitchell should, but right now, it’s almost as if Utah is valuing Mitchell the same as KD. Depending on what KD would go for, Mitchell would undoubtedly have to go for less.

A Kevin Durant trade could help the Knicks get Donovan Mitchell

Last week, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Boston Celtics had offered the Nets a package centered around Jaylen Brown. The Nets turned down the offer and reportedly expressed their interest in a package made up of Brown, Marcus Smart, another role player, and draft picks. It isn’t clear when that exchange between Boston and Brooklyn took place, but Durant requested a trade on June 30.

If KD is traded, what the Nets would get in return would have to be the largest haul in NBA history. And that’s how it should be given Durant’s talents and that he still has four years left on his contract.

Mitchell has three years left on his contract, so the Jazz are expected to get a good amount in return for the guard regardless. But trade talks have stalled because Ainge is asking for the world in exchange for Mitchell. The Gobert trade inflated the market, but a Durant trade could cause the Jazz to come back down to Earth.

SNY’s Ian Begley reported that before it was made official that Utah was willing to listen to offers for Mitchell, the Jazz asked the Knicks for a package that included RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, other players, and at least three first-round draft picks. Barrett and Robinson aren’t Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, but giving up those two as well as several picks would be too much.

While a Durant trade could still happen, it seems like both he and Kyrie Irving are going to be on the Nets for at least the start of the 2022-23 season.

But New York would benefit from a KD trade for more than one reason, and one of those reasons would be that Ainge would be forced to lower the asking price for Donovan Mitchell. If Utah wants four to five picks, that’s fine, but to ask for as many as eight picks as well as several players is absurd. And clearly, the Knicks realize that.