At the end of last week, I wrote briefly about the details surrounding the new Deandre Ayton contract. The Pacers wrote out a huge offer sheet for Ayton, who was a restricted free agent, and Phoenix summarily matched it.
With Ayton’s status now settled, more free agent dominoes may begin to fall. Donovan Mitchell is one of the big remaining ones, which most insiders and NBA odds experts expect to be moved soon.
Donovan Mitchell Trade Rumors Continue to Swirl
At the center of the issue is new Utah Jazz CEO Danny Ainge, a well-known proponent of selling off parts from a team that isn’t a functional contender. The Jazz, as we know, are not.
Utah already sold three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert to Minnesota for a huge haul of picks, and now the Jazz are reportedly looking to exchange Donovan Mitchell in a favorable deal as well.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, now that Ayton is now settled in Phoenix makes Mitchell-to-Manhattan all the more likely.
“I think this moves the Knicks even further into the favorite spot for Donovan Mitchell,” Windhorst said on Friday. “It’s really going to come down to negotiation. The Knicks are very interested. They are talking to the Jazz, but the Jazz have an extremely high bar that they’re setting early in these talks and it’s really just a question of how much can they get the Knicks to pay.”
Donovan Mitchell: Knicks Hungry to Add Star Scorer
Mitchell has shown that he’s a monster scorer in the playoffs, so it’s no surprise that the Knicks would want to add him.
The fact that Mitchell wants to be in New York, where the lights are bright and the media is unforgiving, which is a rare added bonus for an organization that’s struggled to make the most of its metropolis status over the recent decades.
The question that remains – assuming New York is willing to meet Utah’s huge trade demands to acquire the four years left on Mitchell’s contract – is whether or not he fits with the rest of the pieces that the Knicks currently have on their roster.
I’m particularly skeptical about how Mitchell would fit with Jalen Brunson, who the Knicks signed away from Dallas last week.
Mitchell has been a high-usage player in Utah because of how the Jazz have structured their offense. In New York, where there are now considerably more offensive pieces, Mitchell would have to be more comfortable with the ball out of his hands.
If that’s something he can adapt to, and the trade does happen, the Knicks could potentially field their best team in decades, with great NBA lines to follow.
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