Although the New York Knicks have finally cobbled some wins together, taking back-to-back contests for the first time since mid-January, it’s hard to feel enthusiastic about where they’re at. The roster Leon Rose has fielded continues to be deeply flawed; a group that’s destined for an early offseason.
Things are particularly rough at the point guard spot, where 30-year-old journeyman wing Alec Burks is somehow running the show.
According to a report, Knicks exec William Wesley has his sights set on Jazz star Donovan Mitchell as a solution for the team’s woes. However, Mitchell won’t be a free agent until 2025 at the earliest.
That said, there have been rumblings — on the hoops blogosphere at least — that “Spida” could look for a move elsewhere if Utah keeps coming up short during the postseason. Meanwhile, Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney and Steve Bulpett can envision the team itself considering a change in that same scenario.
“If what they have as a collection is not going to get past what’s ahead of them in the West, then you got to really think about that,” said Bulpett during a recent livestream.
Replied Deveney: “Yeah, you can only beat your head against the wall so many times where you say maybe I should stop beating my head against the wall and try something different here.”
New York Has the Pieces to Make a Big-Time Offer
For his part, Deveney sees potential in a Jazz-Knicks pact due to the incredible stockpile of draft assets Rose and Co. have accumulated in recent years.
“One of the things that the Knicks probably don’t get enough credit for is they get a lot of picks, they could really put together a pretty good package,” he said. “They’ve got Dallas’ first-rounder next year, they’ve got all their own first-rounders going forward, they haven’t given up any of those.
New York also has an excess of second-round picks, including some potentially valuable ones from one of the East’s cellar-dwellers.
“One of those is Detroit’s, which could wind up being valuable because some teams prefer to have the first pick in the second round rather than the 27th pick or something,” added Deveney. “So, they’ll have Detroit’s second-rounder next year and in 2024.”
With all that being the case, he’s pitching the following deal bringing Mitchell to the Big Apple:
- Utah Jazz receive: G/F RJ Barrett, G/F Evan Fournier, a future first-round pick and two future second-round picks (via the Detroit Pistons).
- New York Knicks get: G Donovan Mitchell
As the league insider sees it, it’s a package that the Jazz would have to think long and hard about if they were in a situation where trading Mitchell was actually being considered.
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The Draw for Both Sides
For the Knicks, a Mitchell play makes sense on multiple levels. The 25-year-old is a legitimate go-to scorer and playmaker who’s locked into a long-term contract. He also has a wealth of postseason experience, leading his club to multiple series wins while posting career playoff averages of 28.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.
Moreover, he’s a primary ball-handler who has gotten better at running the offense and setting up his teammates every year he has been in the league. Mitchell’s assist percentage has gone up with each passing season; this year he’s at a career-best 28.0.
Where Utah is concerned, Barrett is a young star who could slide into a cornerstone spot beside All-Star big man Rudy Gobert and prevent the team from having to engage in a full-on rebuild. He’s not yet on the same level as Mitchell, but he’s also almost four years younger and he continues to show flashes of franchise-player potential.
The Jazz could also land another gem with one of the picks they’d be getting from New York, or they could use those assets to deal for another core piece. And Fournier is a useful offensive player who’s both a friend and fellow countryman to Gobert.