While three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell has not requested a trade from the Utah Jazz — Kevin Durant style — that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few cities that would be a preferred landing spot.
Now that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are both off the trade block, the “will they or won’t they” trade debate has now shifted onto the Jazz. There are no guarantees that Mitchell will be shipped off this summer, but with the team clearly in rebuild mode making a move makes a lot of sense. Especially since the 25-year-old is controllable for several more seasons and now is the time when organizations are most willing to make major roster overhauls.
While most teams in the league would love to land the outstanding talents of Mitchell, few would be willing to pull off a trade that is bigger than what the Jazz got in return in a June trade of fellow All-Star Rudy Gobert. However, on Thursday The Athletic’s NBA insider Tony Jones revealed that if Mitchell were traded in the next few weeks, there are three teams he would want to play for in 2022-2023.
New York Knicks remain most likely Donovan Mitchell trade destination
The Knicks, Nets, and Heat all make sense as places Mitchell could end up before training camps start in September. Plus, two of the three have already been linked to a Mitchell trade for some time. However, how strong of a chance does each organization have of pulling off a blockbuster deal for the young star? Let’s take a look at each and rate their chances.
If it were completely up to Donovan Mitchell, chances are the Heat are the team he would choose to go to, and why not? They reached the NBA Eastern Conference Finals last season with only one superstar-level player. A case could be made that if Mitchell was there last year instead of the well-aged Kyle Lowry, maybe Miami reaches the finals to play the Warriors.
The only problem, as Jones mentions, is they don’t have the chips the Jazz are looking for. Which is a horde of first-round draft picks, and strong prospects that are controllable for a couple more seasons.
Chances: 3 out of 10
The Nets being an option in the Mitchell market is surprising, but all things are possible now that Durant and Irving will be back next season. Brooklyn is in the hunt for a title and teams in that position make bold moves to secure elite stars. Ben Simmons would need to be included in such a trade and Utah may see him as a very nice return to build around. However, after giving up so much to acquire Simmons at the trade deadline last season, would the Nets give up on him already? It is very possible, but maybe not likely.
With Durant and Irving being elite scorers, Simmons seems like the perfect dirty work star the team needs. In the mold of what Chris Bosh was for the Heat dynasty in the previous decade.
Chances: 5 out of 10
New York Knicks
New York has been building to this exact moment for several years. They have been slowly cultivating a collection of first-round picks for the moment when a team decided to trade a top star and begin a rebuild. That moment is here with Utah, and they are willing to move the player the Knicks have wanted for years. The Knicks also have everything the Jazz would prefer in a Mitchell trade — as many as eight first-rounders in the next four years. If this deal doesn’t happen now, or at the trade deadline, that is a massive failure for both teams.
Chances: 9 out of 10