The New York Knick are not the only big-name team interested in Donovan Mitchell. The in-city rival Brooklyn Nets could get in on the sweepstakes.
According to Ian Begley of SNY, the Nets have shown interest in the Utah Jazz star guard since reports broke that they are willing to listen to offers for the high-scoring player.
There’s several issues for the Nets. Primarily, NBA rules prohibit a team from acquiring multiple players who signed rookie-level max contracts with previous organizations. Brooklyn’s trade for Ben Simmons back in February certainly complicates matters in this regard.
Secondly, Brooklyn is mired in some major drama involving stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Durant requested a trade late last month and has been the subject of talks with other teams. Meanwhile, Irving opted into his contract for the 2022-23 season one day before KD requested to be dealt. He, too, has been the subject of trade talks since.
It would take some brilliant tactical maneuvering from Nets general manager Sean Marks to pull off a trade for Mitchell with all of that as a backdrop. Given Utah’s likely asking price in a blockbuster trade, that’s magnified even further. Below, we look at what the Nets could bring Mitchell to the Big Apple.
Complicated path to bring Donovan Mitchell to the Brooklyn Nets
It was suggested earlier this summer that Utah might have interest in acquiring the 25-year-old Simmons. However, that was likely more under the guise of teaming him up with Mitchell and the recently-traded Rudy Gobert.
It stands to reason that front office head Danny Ainge wouldn’t want to initiate a long-term rebuild with the enigmatic Simmons as the face of the organization. This means Brooklyn would have to find another trade partner for Simmons while adding the necessary assets to entice Utah. Hence, a three or four-team trade. Again, it’s complicated.
Let’s assume for a second that Simmons still provides some value in a trade despite his drama-filled 2021-22 season. Could Brooklyn acquire multiple first-round picks and a young player to help use as a package for Mitchell from Utah?
Perhaps, a team such as the New Orleans Pelicans or New York Knicks (crazy, right) could get involved. In this scenario, one of them adds Simmons to the mix while sending out lofty contracts to Utah to make the salaries work. In that scenario, the Jazz pick up multiple first-round picks from the third team while acquiring a haul of first-round selections from Brooklyn.
Remember, the Nets added multiple future first-rounders in the Simmons for James Harden deal with the Philadelphia 76ers back in February.
But this is all conjecture. The Brooklyn Nets might have interest in Mitchell. The same thing can be said about pretty much every other team in the NBA. Right now, they are not in a great position to even entertain the Jazz with a phone call. Other dominos would have to fall for that to come to fruition.
That includes actually finding a way to retain both Durant and Irving. Without that, making a move for Mitchell wouldn’t make any sense.