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New York Knicks ‘motivated’ for Donovan Mitchell trade, talks in early stages

Matt Johnson
Donovan Mitchell, New York Knicks
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have been positioning themselves for years to swing a blockbuster trade for a superstar. With the Utah Jazz shopping Donovan Mitchell, it seems New York is more motivated than ever to acquire a new face of the franchise.

Utah is launching into a rebuild, making Mitchell, Patrick Beverley and numerous veterans available for future draft picks and young talent. It’s a pool of assets the Knicks have compiled over several years, waiting for the right player to become available.

Mitchell, a New York native, is their target. While the Miami Heat are drawn to Kevin Durant, New York wants the young superstar it can build a team around and make the star at Madison Square Garden. Unsurprisingly, the front office started laying the groundwork on a move the instant it knew Mitchell could become available.

Related: NBA insider says Donovan Mitchell to New York Knicks increasingly likely

NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski provided some insight on ESPN, detailing the initial conversations between the Knicks and Jazz. He also shed some light, based on conversations with executives around the league, about where things stand right now.

“Utah is talking throughout the league, they checked in with New York right around the time we reported that the other day. Traded some ideas with the Knicks about what the Knicks might be willing to do, what the Jazz would want. It’d really just more of a conversation to kick off what I think will be an extended process over time.”

Adrian Wojnarowski on New York Knicks initial interest in Donovan Mitchell

The biggest road block right now is Danny Ainge’s asking price. Many around the league believe Utah’s top executive fleeced the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Rudy Gobert trade. Dating back to his years with the Boston Celtics, Ainge has a reputation for only taking deals he believes he clearly wins.

New York, just like every other team interested in Mitchell, knows this. While it is willing to trade multiple first-round picks, at least four, it won’t include that many picks and all the young talent Utah wants.

  • Donovan Mitchell contract: $30.351 million salary (2022-’23), $134.9 million owed through 2025

It’s been widely reported that the Jazz are insisting on six first-round picks, Quentin Grimes and Immanuel Quickley being involved in any deal. While it seems New York is willing to package both players, it won’t attach RJ Barrett or six first-round picks.

Latest on trade talks between Utah Jazz, New York Knicks

Speaking to that, Wojnarowski shared that he doesn’t believe New York and Utah are talking regularly to try and negotiate a deal in the coming days. Instead, the two clubs will likely continue to revisit talks every few weeks.

“I would expect New York and Utah to perhaps revisit that conversation in the coming weeks. But this is not a process that’s a negotiation back-and-forth or an everyday thing, it’s not that.There is certainly a lot of interest in Mitchell around the league.”

Adrian Wojnarowski on the potential timeline for New York Knicks, Utah Jazz negotiations.

While fans want a deal as soon as possible, that’s clearly not happening. New York knows Ainge is trying to take advantage of the situation, recognizing this is a franchise desperate for a star. For as much as the Knicks want Mitchell, they also won’t keep bidding against themselves just to land him.

Ultimately, it would still be a surprise if Mitchell isn’t suiting up for the Knicks at some point this season. Much like with Durant, it might just take several months before a trade happens.

Related: Donovan Mitchell trade to New York Knicks reportedly looming