The New York Knicks haven’t made a move yet, but they are still expected to be the favorites to land Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell in a trade.
While Mitchell hasn’t officially asked for a trade out of Utah, the trade of Rudy Gobert seems to signal a change is coming for the Jazz, and perhaps shedding big salaries will be best for them
Mitchell is signed until 2026, so the Jazz still have plenty of years left on his deal if they want to continue building around him, so there really is no pressure to trade him at the moment.
However, that won’t stop another team from swooping in and making an offer, and there’s a possibility the Jazz will receive an offer they can’t refuse. Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey suggests a deal with the Hornets that would see the Jazz guard land in Charlotte.
Hornets Steal Mitchell?
While the Knicks might still be the favorites in landing the star guard, the Hornets actually have a nice offer they can make made up of players and draft picks alike.
If the Jazz are looking for something similar to what they got for Gobert, the Hornets could certainly offer it. Here’s what Bailey proposes:
- Hornets Receive: Donovan Mitchell
- Jazz Receive: Terry Rozier, James Bouknight, a 2023 first-round pick, a 2025 first-round pick, a 2027 first-round pick and a 2029 first-round pick
Mitchell has a lot of ties to the New York area, and there’s a possibility the Knicks could just sign him outright in three years, so maybe they’d just play the waiting game. He’d still be under 30 by the time that day comes, so he’ll presumably have productive years ahead of him and it wouldn’t be worth giving up the future just to get him a few years early. This is where the Hornets could swoop in.
“But what if that just means the Knicks will be hesitant to include significant draft compensation for a player they can wait to sign outright?” Bailey asks. “Three years is a ways away, but the amount of picks Utah is reportedly demanding is daunting. So, it’s understandable for New York to be proceeding with at least a hint of caution. As it does, Utah seems to be looking elsewhere.”
The main hangup, for both the Knicks and the Hornets, is whether or not adding Mitchell would get them over the hump.
“Charlotte’s interest in Mitchell, meanwhile, is a little harder to grasp than New York’s,” Bailey continues. “Yes, he certainly makes the Hornets better in the short term. He and Ball are interesting theoretical fit, thanks in part to the 6’7″ Ball’s size. But Mitchell probably won’t make them a title contender. And emptying the asset cupboard to go from play-in range to slightly above that is quite a risk.”
Should the Knicks Worry?
As of right now, the Knicks shouldn’t be panicking because the reporting saying they are the frontrunners hasn’t changed.
However, if they wait around for too long, another team like the Hornets could step in and make the trade. Losing out on Mitchell wouldn’t be the end of the world, but it would be a disappointment for fans who believed they were very close to landing a true star in New York.