Days after saying there was “no intent” to trade Donovan Mitchell, the Utah Jazz are reportedly listening to offers for the All-Star guard.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday afternoon that “rival teams say the Utah Jazz are showing a willingness to listen on possible trade scenarios” after previously shutting down inquiries about Mitchell’s availability.
Front office executives were asked this week about Mitchell’s future in Utah — specifically if he was considered “untouchable” in trade talks.
“I’m not trying to be cryptic or anything else, but Donovan’s on our roster, and he’s a very, very important part of what we’re trying to do,” Jazz general manager Justin Zanik said. “You know, things evolve in the NBA, so I couldn’t sit here and say anybody is [untouchable]. You know, we’re trying to build a championship team. But there’s no intent there at all.”
On Tuesday, ESPN reported that the Jazz are open to making a deal.
“The asking price appears to be steep, but in the wake of Utah’s recent Rudy Gobert blockbuster deal to Minnesota, the Jazz are no longer simply dismissing calls on Mitchell,” ESPN reported, citing anonymous sources.
That stance reflects the prior opinion of competing league executives, as reported in the Tribune on Sunday. The Jazz’s decisions to move on from Mitchell friends Royce O’Neale (trade), Eric Paschall and Trent Forrest (no qualifying offer extended) may have also pointed toward a change in stance on their star guard.
Who might trade for Mitchell?
New York and Miami are two possibilities. The Knicks have been frequently mentioned as a logical home for the star guard, who grew up in the area. Miami, meanwhile, would be looking to win now by adding the All-Star guard alongside Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry and Bam Adebayo.
The Knicks would be able to trade perhaps more than the Heat, at least in a two-team deal. The Knicks have 22-year-old R.J. Barrett as a potentially compelling trade piece to return, along with helpful youth like Immanuel Quickley and Miles McBride. They also have more picks in their front office’s war chest to return in a deal than Miami, which has already traded one of its future first-round picks.
But Miami is extremely interested in a deal, sources say, that could send Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro, along with other picks, to the Jazz. Before the Gobert trade had been completed, Miami had extended such an offer but the Jazz found it “insufficient,” according to league sources.
Other teams could have compelling pieces to trade for the 25-year-old who put up 25.9 points per game next season. The news that he’s unofficially on the market could attract interest from unexpected sources.
The return of four first round picks, a pick swap, a 2022 first-round pick in the form of Walker Kessler, and four other NBA players in exchange for Gobert was substantial, and sources say that the Jazz would be looking for a similar return in magnitude for Mitchell.
When might a deal take place?
Before this report, most league observers anticipated that the Jazz would take their time on trading Mitchell, waiting for the market to bring the right return before moving him. But ESPN reports have frequently indicated an accelerated timeline: for example, when ESPN reported about Quin Snyder and the Jazz’s inability to come to terms on an extension, the team announced he had stepped down within a matter of days.