Latest Kevin Durant news could hurt Knicks’ chances of getting Donovan Mitchell

After nearly two months of endless rumors that revealed nothing, the Kevin Durant sweepstakes are over. The Brooklyn Nets announced on Tuesday morning that after meeting with KD and his manager Rich Kleiman in Los Angeles, the two sides have agreed to move forward to “bring a championship to Brooklyn.” But here’s what’s important — Durant staying with the Nets could hurt the New York Knicks’ chances of trading for Donovan Mitchell.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Knicks and the Utah Jazz are back in trade discussions for the three-time All-Star. New York’s latest reported offer wasn’t enough for Danny Ainge and Utah, with the hold-up reportedly concerning the number of unprotected picks.

Although the Knicks are Mitchell’s most likely landing spot, other teams have thrown their names in the ring, including the Miami Heat, Washington Wizards, and the Charlotte Hornets. There’s also the Toronto Raptors, who were in the running for KD, but with the latest news, they could now shift their attention to solely finding a way to trade for Mitchell.

Since Durant requested a trade on June 30, the NBA world made it past free agency but has still been on hold. Teams that were in the running for the 12-time All-Star have been sitting back evaluating their trade pieces, but now that it’s officially clear that a trade isn’t going to happen, Mitchell’s going to be the focal point.

Kevin Durant staying in Brooklyn could impact the Knicks’ chances of trading for Donovan Mitchell

Right about now, Danny Ainge is preparing to engage with teams that have been focused on a possible trade for Durant. But the truth is, Ainge is probably already on the phone. The Knicks front office has been reluctant to give Ainge what he wants, although New York’s interest in trading for Donovan Mitchell is evident.

Reportedly, the Jazz have offers from other teams that “they like an awful lot”, but the truth is that the Knicks have the most to offer Utah. New York wouldn’t have to loop a third team in, although that could end up being what the organization has to do based on Ainge’s demands.

The expectation’s been that a Donovan Mitchell trade will possibly happen closer to training camp, which begins at the end of next month. The Jazz are likely going to hold out as long as they can and wait for the best possible offer, which is what they did with Rudy Gobert. And let’s not forget that Mitchell still has three guaranteed years left on his contract, so there isn’t a push for a trade, but Utah’s clearly entering a rebuilding phase.

The Knicks front office is well-aware of the fact that now the focus is off of KD, the spotlight is on Donovan Mitchell’s future. That could cause New York to act fast and do what it takes to get the guard to the Knicks. This isn’t to say that a trade will happen sooner rather than later, but Durant staying with the Nets could help to expedite the process.

The race for Mitchell just got a bit tighter. Let’s go, New York.