After the Utah Jazz traded Royce O’Neil to the Brooklyn Nets, and superstar center Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a blockbuster deal, it seemed a like the franchise was in the midst of a true rebuild, and that Miami Heat‘s longtime trade target, Donovan Mitchell, would be on the block next.
While ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski killed such hopes on July 1, tweeting about how “the Jazz plan to retool the roster around” the three-time All-Star after the team “gathered six first-round picks in the past 24 hours,” conflicting reports regarding how Mitchell feels about the situation tell a very different story.
The latest Heat news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Heat newsletter here!
Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman expressed the reaction of many people after reading Wojnarowski’s report tweeting, “So Donovan Mitchell will wait around for all those picks to come to fruition?”
Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang also sounded dubious. “Looks like Utah’s plan, for now, includes Donovan Mitchell,” Chiang tweeted. “Seems like the Jazz will try to turn all the picks they just acquired into impactful players.”
ESPN’s Brian Windhort took a more direct approach in his assessment of Mitchell’s situation following the Gobert trade. Windhorst said, “Talking to league executives who saw some of this coming, they think it would be abnormal for Donovan [Mitchell] to not want out at this point. There are teams out there who are now revving up the possibility of calling Utah.”
On Wednesday, July 6, Mitchell sent out a cryptic tweet which quickly went viral amid the flurry of reports concerning his future in the NBA. “Build ya up to tear ya down ‼️” he tweeted, which spurred hundreds of responses on the social media app.
One fan commented, “They don’t LOVE you bruh. They just like you when your winning games. Soon as there’s a little smoke, they turn on you like they did Hayward and D-Will. You deserve better. Take your talents elsewhere and get your happiness back my guy,” while another person shared a picture of Mitchell in a Heat jersey and wrote, “Let’s make it happen 🔥.”
Miami Is a ‘More Likely’ Landing Spot for Mitchell
Last week, The New York Daily News reporter Kristian Winfield wrote of the 25-year-old guard possibly landing in Miami this offseason, “The Heat are a more likely landing spot for Donovan Mitchell and have furnished a trade offer to the Utah Jazz.
“In an April 2022 episode of the Certified Buckets podcast, New York City hip-hop legend Fat Joe told me he is close to Mitchell and that Mitchell’s dream is playing for Miami, not his hometown Knicks,” Winfield noted.
Earlier this month, NBA Skills coach Chris Brickley shared photos of Heat star Jimmy Butler and Mitchell sitting next to each other at his birthday party on Instagram, pictures which quickly went viral on social media.
Brickley trains with both Mitchell and Butler, so it’s easy to understand why both ballers were at his party, but the photos still raised some eyebrows on social media. A Heat fan tweeted, “Help is on the way,” while a Celtics fan got worried and wrote, “Thats not good. Smh. The East would belong to them. Boston better win this year. They will never get another chance.”
Is Pat Riley Cooking Up Something Big?
While the Heat hasn’t pulled the trigger on an outside move, they’ve re-signed All-Star guard Victor Oladipo and forward Caleb Martin. However, as more details of their respective contract arise, it seems like Heat president Pat Riley could be quietly preparing to make a big swing for someone soon.
Oladipo’s contract was initially reported to be a one-year, $11 million contract when it was announced last week, but those terms have since changed. “It’s now going to be two-year deal with smaller salary this season and player option in second year,” Chiang tweeted on Wednesday. “Less money gives Heat more room to avoid luxury tax and potential hard cap.”
Winderman noted of the changes regarding the two-time All-Star’s contract, “This means Oladipo no longer can block a trade once he becomes trade eligible on Jan. 15. On a one-year deal, he would have had veto rights.”
As for Martin, while his three-year $20.5 million contract is fully guaranteed, Miami’s quickness in re-signing the restricted free agent means they can also trade him starting December 15. Chiang explained, “When teams match offer sheets with RFAs, that player can’t be traded without their consent for the rest of the NBA calendar year. But since the Heat didn’t need to match an offer sheet to keep Caleb Martin, this doesn’t apply.”