The Donovan Mitchell conversations behind the scenes are moving forward quickly. Even more quickly, though, questions from Jazz fans are arriving in my virtual inbox.
So let’s answer as many as we can.
These questions were all submitted via Twitter to me at @andyblarsen. You can reach out there or via email — email@example.com — anytime.
“Could you see a deal from the Knicks getting done at any moment?” — Nate from LTK
Truthfully, yes, I could. Negotiations between the Jazz and the Knicks have reportedly continued since Tuesday.
But I could also see either side hitting pause on the deal — finding the gap to be too far to bridge for the moment — with intentions of coming back to negotiations later. The Kevin Durant situation does impact these talks, as both Miami and Brooklyn are seen as the main competitors to the Knicks for Mitchell.
I was super unspecific in my last report, saying a deal could happen in the “hours, days, or weeks” ahead. Frankly, that’s what my sources feel as well — a feeling this could happen at any time, with no deadline from either side.
“Who benefits more the longer the trade takes to get done?” — Justin Russell
It’s hard to say. Right now, both teams are in the middle of their respective conferences. Neither team wants to enter the regular season competing for a play-in tournament spot. But I’m not sure either team benefits from this deal happening in July vs. August, or vice versa.
“How quickly do you anticipate the other supporting pieces to be moved (Conley, Bogey, etc) after a Mitchell trade goes through?” — Elijah Rembacz
I think it depends on when the Jazz get their asking price on those players. To me, Mike Conley’s market is at an all-time low, and it might be worth waiting to see if a starting point guard role opens up around the NBA, whether it be due to unfortunate injury or just poor play. Bojan Bogdanovic has obvious plug-and-play value to any team.
Patrick Beverley, in my opinion, is at the peak of his value, after an excellent run with Minnesota. He’s 34 years old, and the vibes won’t be better in Utah than in Minnesota. If the Jazz want to trade him, they should do so now.
“A week ago the Jazz expressed that they weren’t actively shopping Donovan. Do you think that changed or did the Knicks just submit a great offer?” — Splash Nephew
Sometimes NBA executives are not entirely truthful to the public and the press. Shocker, I know.
People in all sorts of businesses push their own narratives for all sorts of reasons. This is fine. We in the media have a tricky job, trying to decipher when to report those to you and when not to forward them on.
No, the Jazz were not 100 percent committed to building around Donovan Mitchell in the wake of the Rudy Gobert trade on July 1. They had discussed Mitchell trades before then as well.
“Do you think if Quin had not left, all this offseason action would have occurred?” — Craig Hall
I don’t think much changes if Snyder decides to stay. The situation, as it was, wasn’t tenable. Ainge surely wanted to assert his authority. I think the Jazz would have liked Snyder’s player development expertise to lead them into the next era, but he understandably wasn’t interested in that.
“Was Quin apprised of the pending house cleaning, and wanting to avoid being in a rebuild, prompted him to leave before it happened?” — Kurt
I don’t know that even anyone in the Jazz’s front office fully knew what was going to happen ... but I don’t believe Quin Snyder thought that the roster would be improved next season. The situation wasn’t a positive one at status quo, and change was only going to be in one direction. Snyder’s smart enough to read the tea leaves.
“What sense do you have of Will Hardy’s knowledge of Gobert/Mitchell being moved prior to accepting the job? Would this have been something they would’ve felt obligated to tell him, or does he take the job regardless of roster construct/team competitiveness?” — Denim Millward
From Will Hardy’s news conference:
“I think throughout the process and all of our conversations, Danny, Justin, and Ryan, they were very honest about that there are multiple paths that this team can take, and I don’t necessarily have a preference. I look forward to the partnership with them and doing this together, whichever direction they decide that we should go.”
To me, it sounds like they told him at least that it was a significant possibility.
“Would a Don trade signal the Jazz are fully tanking for Wembanyama/Henderson? Which Knicks players should Jazz fans be most interested in? Thanks for all you do!” — Mike Middleton
Yes, a Mitchell trade would mean that the Jazz aren’t trying to be competitive next season. The smoothed-out lottery odds mean it doesn’t matter much if you fully tank and actively try to lose games or just are bad. I suspect they’ll be bad.
As for Knicks players, I’m most interested in Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes. Quickley’s a score-first point guard who has stepped in and performed well in a 23 minutes per night role for the Knicks since he was drafted; Grimes has been absolutely killing it for the Knicks in summer league, he’s a 6-5 shooter with impressive defense for a young kid.
“Is the Jazz’s goal to have as much financial and draft capital flexibility as possible going forward?” — @utjazzmuse
In short, yes. Upside shots at young players with significant team control remaining would be the other targeted asset.
“Are there any other teams in the mix? Seems like Jazz should also be targeting Orlando and Sac.” — Dan Marshall
Multiple teams inquired about Mitchell in the wake of the Gobert trade, but with lacking offers. I haven’t heard of any other teams’ significant interest since then beyond New York, Miami, and Brooklyn, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.
“Is there any truth to the rumors that the Donovan Mitchell camp has been trying to get out of Utah for a while now?” — The Sports Bros
“Camp” is such a simple term for a complicated situation. Donovan has:
• Multiple agents who represent him at Creative Artists Agency
• Multiple relevant family members
• High profile mentors, like Dwyane Wade, and lower profile important voices
• A high-dollar shoe contract with Adidas, with executives to please there
• NBA player friends, in Utah and in other markets
• Non-NBA player friends, in Utah and other markets
And all of those people have, frankly, some sort of preference about where Donovan Mitchell plays basketball. OK, sure, yes, they do basically want to see Mitchell be happy. But they have different ideas about what would make him happy. Is it best for him to be beloved in a small market or be in the spotlight in a big market? To be closer to home, or make a stamp elsewhere? Some think he needs a second star with him, some think it’s best if he can run a team himself. Some think a 7-1 defensive center might be the exact thing he needs, and some, uh, truly dislike Rudy Gobert personally.
Have some of those people been eyeing Mitchell’s future elsewhere since day one? Honestly, probably. Have some of those people’s feelings changed in an anti-Utah direction over the past year or two? Absolutely. But do some of those people still think he’s in the best situation for him, at least until this week? Yes.
“Do you think we’ll ever get clarity and closure from the Jazz drama the past couple of seasons?” — Colby Barrios
We’ll work hard here at The Tribune to bring it to you. Some of it we already have. See our report on the cold feelings that existed at times between Quin Snyder and Dennis Lindsey.
But I don’t think the tell-all story is going to be that salacious. I don’t think anybody got punched or anything, like in Chicago. Nobody brought a gun to the locker room, like in Washington. I think it was just simmering for a long time, and missed expectations caused everyone’s nerves to fray even more.
“Who is more at fault for the lack of team chemistry this past year: Donovan, Donovan’s team, Jazz management, Joe Ingles leaving, or Rudy?” — Garth Gagnier
Look, I think it’s a combination of all of those factors to some degree.
The one exception: I know many think Joe Ingles could have been a positive voice in the locker room had he not been traded ... but frankly, people I have spoken to in the Jazz’s locker room and with knowledge of the Jazz’s locker room are skeptical about that point. I, too, am skeptical. Problems existed before and after his departure. Ingles is hilarious, but frankly, he is also prickly. I don’t think he was going to work a miracle in the locker room. No, I do not think this plays out differently if Ingles doesn’t tear his ACL or isn’t traded.
“Is a title here even possible in the current NBA climate/CBA structure? We trade guys that want to stay, pander to guys who show desire to leave & can’t keep a volume scorer here long enough to make a real run. John and Karl’s loyalty & want to win one for UTAH were special, no?” — The BogdanoGrouch
Yes, John and Karl were certainly special.
But, heck yes, a title in Utah is possible. The Milwaukee Bucks just won one. The Celtics just got to the Finals with a roster that was built nearly entirely without free agency. Frankly, I think the Jazz would have been actual title contenders instead of pretenders two seasons ago had they just done better things around the edges — Desmond Bane an obvious one. That window closed due to Jazz mismanagement as much as anything.
Is it more difficult than in a glamour market? Probably. But I don’t think it’s impossible at all ... maybe a 1-in-40 chance instead of a 1-in-30 one.