After Nets superstar Kevin Durant suddenly changed his mind about requesting a trade out of Brooklyn, it was largely assumed that the Miami Heat would re-focus their attention on landing Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, whom the franchise has been actively trying to pursue for months.
While trade talks for Mitchell appeared to slow to a trickle, it made sense that the 25-year-old guard would at least start the season with the Jazz. However, Mitchell caused a stir on social media on Tuesday, August 30, by deleting the Utah Jazz’s name from his Twitter bio.
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Fans strongly reacted to seeing Mitchell edit. “Miami Bound I’m afraid the league is finished 😭😭😭,” one man tweeted, while another person shared a photoshopped picture of Mitchell in Heat jersey alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo and wrote, “Welcome to the Miami Heat.”
However, not everyone is buying into the hype. One fan responded to the news, “ngl this probably doesn’t mean s***,” while another man countered on Twitter, “Dude literally took the team he plays for out of his bio how does that not mean anything? 😭”.”
The New York Daily News reporter Kristian Winfield wrote back on June 30 that the Heat made an official offer for the Jazz star. “The Heat are a more likely landing spot for Donovan Mitchell and have furnished a trade offer to the Utah Jazz,” Winfield reported. “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.”
Several Teams Remain Strong Contenders to Land Mitchell
While the New York Knicks appear to be the strongest franchise to snag Mitchell as they have a slew of first-round picks to offer up that Miami does not, 98.7 ESPN’s sports talk radio host Alan Hahn shared on his TikTok account last week that the Heat remains a major threat in the Mitchell sweepstakes, along with several other contenders.
“You see that Durant now is staying in Brooklyn, so that market has suddenly been eliminated,” Hahn said. “There could be teams — Miami, Toronto — that were setting themselves up just in case a deal could be done for Kevin Durant. And, perhaps now with him off the table, these teams might contact the Jazz and say, ‘Alright, what’s it going to take to get Donovan Mitchell?’ And that’s when things get real interesting.
“I would watch Miami only because it’s Miami,” Hahn said. “I would watch Toronto because Masai Ujiri is always a guy who’s willing to make a move to upgrade his team. He’s very aggressive. I would watch them. I would watch Cleveland. They have Collin Sexton. They don’t have him. Very interesting guard set-up there.”
The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Tony Jones reported on August 15 that there’s been “no traction” on a deal between the Jazz and the Knicks, but two other teams, the Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards, “are among the teams pursuing Mitchell.”
However, an Eastern Converence executive told Heavy, “What you’ve seen from Utah in the last week looks like some smoke-screening, they have gotten into a rut where it looks like the Knicks are the only team that can give them what they want for Mitchell and the Knicks know it. And the Knicks are willing to give up some of their picks for him, they have eight of them—they just don’t want to give them ALL up. The Jazz are asking for all of New York’s young guys plus another six or so picks, and that’s too much. So you’ve had things leaking from Utah, that they like what Charlotte has or what Washington can give them. And it’s impossible, those teams do not have the picks the Knicks have. It’s been this dance for a few weeks now, it’s almost silly. But it’s a smokescreen from Utah. There’s no hurry on it so both sides can wait out the other.”
The Heat Are Still in the Mix to Make a Blockbuster Trade
Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman reported on July 27 that the Heat’s pursuit for a new superstar would not be over until guard Tyler Herro, the centerpiece of the team’s trade package, receives his max extension. “There is only one definitive way to both say and show they are done, to both say and show they are content, to both say and show an abiding belief in the tired saw of, ‘We have enough,'” Winderman wrote.
“That will be if and when they sign off on a contract extension with Tyler Herro.
Because at that point, based on their limited supply of tradable assets, is when they would be sending the ultimate signal, one with ultimate transparency.” Once Herro gets paid, he’ll basically become untradeable and the Heat can no longer make a competitive offer.