The New York Knicks and Utah Jazz have reportedly hit one final stalemate in trade talks regarding All-Star Donovan Mitchell. The latest issue? The amount of unprotected first-round draft picks that would be included in a prospective deal.
In Knicks land, the Mitchell situation has become the primary focus of their offseason. After signing coveted restricted free agent point guard Jalen Brunson away from the Dallas Mavericks, the organization’s pursuit of the player they have wanted for years has become the narrative at the forefront of most fans’ minds.
However, while suggestions from around the league have claimed the Mitchell trade chase is really a one-horse race, there have consistently been various rumors about why a deal has not been consummated yet. Early rumors around a possible trade being held up centered on if rising star RJ Barrett would be included in a swap. More recent speculation was centered on if 2021 first-round pick Quentin Grimes would be a part of the Jazz’s return.
Beyond the players that could be included in a deal, the amount of picks in the Knicks’ package for Mitchell has also been a source of a divide. After Utah netted four first-round picks in their deal for All-Star center Rudy Gobert this summer, the assumption has long been that New York might have to cough up close to twice as many picks to get Mitchell.
New York Knicks recently offered Jazz Obi Toppin, Evan Fournier, cash, and 2 unprotected draft picks
Well, it seems that draft picks have again become an issue between Utah and New York. However, this time it is about how many of those selections will be unprotected. On Monday, New York Post NBA insider Marc Berman revealed the sides are close on a deal, but Utah president Danny Ainge wants more unprotected first-round picks than the Knicks have been willing to part with.
For the uninitiated, a protected pick just means there are conditions on the selection from one of the teams in the trade that included it. For example, if the pick is in the top 10 it will remain with the organization that offered it up in a deal. Nevertheless, as Berman says it does not seem like there is a very wide gap between the two sides.
The Knicks have eight first-round picks in the next four NBA drafts.