Top Landing Spots for Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell If Utah Trades Star Guard | Bleacher Report


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    The Utah Jazz were up 2-0 on the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the 2021 NBA playoffs. The Clippers won Games 3 and 4 in LA, but they lost Kawhi Leonard the rest of the way to a knee injury. The Jazz lost the series anyway, and outside a brief reprieve for the first few months of 2021-22, Utah has been in turmoil ever since.

    The Jazz went 21-23 from January 7 to the end of the season. After Joe Ingles tore his ACL, they traded the longtime point forward to the Portland Trail Blazers. They had what you’d think was mathematically impossible series of blown leads at the end of the regular season. They lost in the first round to the Dallas Mavericks (who were missing Luka Doncic for part of the series). And on Sunday, news broke that coach Quin Snyder, who’d been at the helm for eight years, decided to step down.

    Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

    After eight seasons as a coach, Snyder simply decided it was time to step away. Conversations had been amicable with the team, relationships still strong, but Snyder has decided to leave after building the Jazz into a perennial playoff contender.

    And all of this while years worth of rumbles about tension between stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell hadn’t really died down.

    Clearly, something had to give. Maybe that was Snyder, but subsequent reporting suggested his departure didn’t settle anything.

    “In the aftermath of Quin Snyder’s departure as Utah Jazz coach, All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell is described as ‘unsettled, unnerved and wondering what it means for the franchise’s future,'” according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

    In recent years, a number of high-profile young stars, including Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving, have forced their way off the teams that drafted them. Is Mitchell next? Even if he doesn’t formally request a trade, should Utah think about preempting that move?

    Either way, teams around the league must be curious. And the ones below should at least make some offers.

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    Nathaniel S. Butler / NBAE via Getty Images

    The Trade: RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Evan Fournier and a 2024 first-round pick for Donovan Mitchell

    The most obvious landing spot for Mitchell remains the New York Knicks, the marquee franchise in the market where his father worked for the New York Mets and his mother taught at Greenwich Country Day School.

    Julius Randle’s outlier All-NBA campaign in 2020-21 aside, New York hasn’t had a star old since Carmelo Anthony. Mitchell is undoubtedly that, which means the Knicks will have to give plenty up to get him, especially if other teams join the bidding.

    “Even if Mitchell were to ultimately request a trade from the Jazz, he still has three full years committed on his contract before a player option in 2025-26,” Jake Fischer wrote for Bleacher Report. “Plus, there’s healthy skepticism around the NBA that New York’s best offer for Mitchell would trump other teams’ pursuits, such as a potential package from Miami that would theoretically center around Tyler Herro plus other salaries and multiple first-round picks.”

    Enticing as the 22-year-old Herro might be, a look at the last contender Danny Ainge built might suggest he’d be more interested in New York’s RJ Barrett. He’s closer to the combination of size and positional versatility (particularly on defense) possessed by wings like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown than Herro is. And at 21, there’s plenty of time for him to develop into a star (Mitchell was 21 during his rookie season).

    If Mitchell wants out, Barrett alone is a heck of a prize. To make sure the deal is accepted, though, New York would have to up the ante with Immanuel Quickley (another promising guard) and a first-round pick (alway enticing). As for Evan Fournier, he’s mostly in there for salary-matching purposes, but his shooting would make sense in lineups with countryman Rudy Gobert.

    The Knicks’ side of this deal, on the other hand, doesn’t require much explaining. Again, Mitchell is a star. He’s been in the playoffs every year of his career, with a postseason scoring average of 28.3 points. In a market where he wants to stay long term, Mitchell is a foundational talent.

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    Michael Reaves / Getty Images

    The Trade: Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Omer Yurtseven, a 2022 first-round pick and a 2023 first-round pick swap for Donovan Mitchell

    The Knicks aren’t the only team that’s been rumored to have interest in Donovan Mitchell over the years. According to B / R’s Jake Fischer, “The Miami Heat are being mentioned as another franchise that’s closely monitoring Mitchell’s status in Utah.”

    And if they’re serious about going after him, the Heat can put together a pretty intriguing offer.

    Herro just wrapped up his age-22 campaign, and his numbers are well within the shouting distance of Mitchell’s at the same age. He pulled his off without the same kind of responsibility and opportunities as Mitchell. It’s hard to know whether he’d shrink or rise to that until he’s in the situation, but some of the other additions cover for that uncertainty.

    Duncan Robinson fell out of favor this postseason, but he’s still a career 40.6 percent three-point shooter and one of the game’s best off-ball movers. Adding him and Herro (38.5 percent for his career) would open up the floor for Rudy Gobert’s rim runs, and Omer Yurtseven would give the Jazz a reliable backup 5 with potential to develop.

    Sweetening all of that with draft consideration makes this a tough offer to top, but it’s not so outlandish that Miami would dismiss it out of hand.

    The Heat were in the bottom half of the playoff teams in offensive rating, and they stalled out completely for long stretches against the Boston Celtics. Measuring them against the league’s best defense may seem unfair, but Miami is in the business of competing for titles. It has to be able to score against the best to get where it wants to go. Right now, the Heat are still far too reliant on 32-year-old Jimmy Butler.

    Mitchell would take a ton of pressure off Butler and give him another target for his playmaking. And if there’s a situation and coach that could finally motivate Mitchell to play some defense, it’s probably #HeatCulture and Erik Spoelstra.

    With Mitchell’s scoring, Bam Adebayo’s defense and playmaking and Butler’s, well, everything, the Heat would have one of the game’s best trios.

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    Todd Kirkland / Getty Images

    The Trade: John Collins, De’Andre Hunter, a 2022 first-round pick and a 2024 first-round pick for Donovan Mitchell

    New York and Miami will probably headline this discussion until a trade actually happens, but some noise is starting to come from another Southeast Division team.

    “Almost every team in the league would show trade interest in Mitchell if he was to request a trade out of Utah,” Brett Siegel wrote for Sports Illustrated. “But the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks are two other teams besides the Knicks that Mitchell would have interest in, sources familiar with the Jazz guard noted.”

    Rudy Gobert going to Atlanta has been a more common topic of discussion, but the idea of ​​a duo of Mitchell and Trae Young could be nightmare-inducing (for both the Hawks and their opponents).

    Few, if any, backcourts would be worse on defense, but there may be enough firepower there to overcome that. Young and Mitchell were second and 11th, respectively, in 30-point performances this season.

    Losing Hunter and Collins as part of the deal would mean plenty of other tweaks to the roster would be needed, but having those two stars in place would entice talent from all over the league.

    For the Jazz, this move would certainly signal a philosophical shift. Barring a subsequent trade of Gobert, it’d give Utah one of the game’s best and most vertically explosive frontcourts. A defense with Gobert, Hunter and Royce O’Neale would have top-five potential too.

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    Melissa Majchrzak / NBAE via Getty Images

    The Trade: Malcolm Brogdon, Buddy Hield, a 2022 first-round pick, a 2023 first-round pick swap and a 2024 first-round pick for Donovan Mitchell and Royce O’Neale

    Though there would surely be more than three suitors in the event of a trade request from Mitchell, the Knicks, Heat and Hawks are the ones coming up by name. We’ve seen examples from the past of surprise teams crashing parties like this, though.

    The Toronto Raptors came out of nowhere to land Kawhi Leonard. The Oklahoma City Thunder shocked the basketball world when they swung a deal for Paul George. Could the Indiana Pacers do something similar with Mitchell?

    A backcourt with he and Tyrese Haliburton would offer a plenty of scoring and playmaking. Both have shown an ability to share the floor with another guard who commands a decent number of possessions.

    Indiana could certainly play the long game with 22-year-old Haliburton, but Mitchell is only three years older. Chasing him doesn’t have to nuke the organizational timeline.

    Landing him would absolutely carry some risk, though. The Raptors won a championship with Leonard, but he left after one season. PG lasted two seasons in OKC. Getting Mitchell would open the Pacers up to a similar possibility, and they’re a lot further than one move away from a title than Toronto was when it acquired Kawhi.

    For the Jazz, this move would be largely about loading up for an eventual rebuild. A starting five that includes Malcolm Brogdon, Buddy Hield and Rudy Gobert would be good, but it probably doesn’t stack up to some of the other contenders in the West. Brogdon has struggled to stay healthy, and all three are already approaching their 30th birthdays.

    If Mitchell is determined to force his way out, though, there is some sense to be made here. At the very least, Utah stays competitive. And if Mitchell spurns Indiana too, future firsts from the Pacers could be valuable (the Jazz might even insist on pushing those further into the future).




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