Analyzing Knicks’ reported competition for Donovan Mitchell trade
The New York Knicks and Utah Jazz reportedly haven’t spoken in two weeks about a Donovan Mitchell trade. Because of that, the Jazz have been engaging with other teams, including the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets.
It doesn’t matter which teams Danny Ainge has been speaking with because if he wants the best offer for the three-time All-Star, it’s going to come from the Knicks. The Jazz are trying to capitalize on the Rudy Gobert trade and have a steep price for Mitchell.
Mitchell was drafted in 2017 and since then, Utah hasn’t made it past the second round of the playoffs. Three of his five years in the league have resulted in first-round exits. With Gobert being gone, the Jazz are on the cusp of a major rebuild with Mitchell being the next domino to fall.
At the age of 25, Mitchell’s in the prime of his career. New York’s struggled in recent years with the exception of its 2021 playoff appearance, but the Knicks are back on the right track with a flurry of successful offseason moves, including signing point guard Jalen Brunson to a four-year deal. The same can’t be said about the Wizards and the Hornets.
What can the Wizards and Hornets offer the Jazz for Donovan Mitchell that the Knicks can’t?
The short answer is nothing. New York has the most to offer Utah, but Ainge is trying to get everything that the Knicks have, which is why talks have stalled.
Washington has six first-round picks over the next seven years and contrary to what some may think, the Wizards don’t have more promising young players than the Knicks.
No, Deni Avdija and Johnny Davis don’t move the needle more than Obi Toppin and Quentin Grimes. It should be noted that the tweet above came from a Jazz fan, who should be rooting for Utah to get the most in a return for Mitchell.
If Ainge asked for RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, and a couple of other players as well as a few first-round picks for Donovan Mitchell, Washington doesn’t have enough. Kristaps Porzingis was traded to the Wizards in February and he’d likely be out of the door again if a deal were to go through.
Charlotte has seven first-round picks over the next seven years and lacks the young talent to send to Utah for Mitchell along with Terry Rozier, who’d likely be included in the deal. Ainge would undoubtedly ask for P.J. Washington, although he’s due for a rookie extension.
There’s also James Bouknight and JT Thor, but again, the Hornets can’t compete with some combination of Toppin, Grimes, Deuce McBride, Immanuel Quickley, and Cam Reddish. Knowing Ainge, he’d ask for LaMelo Ball.
Ainge is doing his due diligence by speaking with other teams, but the Knicks not only have the best offer, but Mitchell would likely prefer to be in New York over Washington or Charlotte. And if the Wizards or Hornets were to trade for him, they wouldn’t have much left over after, but the Knicks would.
Regardless of what’s been said, New York still makes the most sense. And if not New York, then Miami, not Washington or Charlotte.