News comes today that the Jazz and the Knicks have restarted their Donovan Mitchell trade talks, and that a couple other teams are interested, and … and … and …
Can the Jazz just get this thing over with?
Some of the team’s customers want Mitchell gone or at least see some wisdom in dealing him as a means of rebuilding for the future. Some of those fans are firmly against the idea, figuring that whatever the Jazz can get with the crapshoot that is draft picks, they’ll be lucky to come up with two players better than Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.
But please … put everyone out of their misery.
That’s what this summer-long fiasco has become for a lot of folks around here.
A three-plus-month ripping of a bandage off a wound, slowly tearing a couple layers of skin away with the intentions.
Enough is enough.
Danny Ainge is doing what Ainge does — playing hardball, seeking the best deal possible for his outfit, placing the Knicks on the rack and stretching them to the point of bones and joints and tendons snapping for an extra pick or a less-than-pivotal player. Everybody gets all that.
But if he’s going to trade Mitchell, get it done.
Tell the Knicks or whoever else is interested to bring their finest set of moveable commodities to the table sooner, not later. Soonest. Do it for the sake of a fanbase that has wondered and wandered in the desert long enough.
What’s the problem at this point, really? What’s the hangup?
Are we talking about minor adjustments or truly significant ones?
Is there a load of ego involved or is it practicality?
Negotiation is a pain for one and all. I hate it. And am likely lousy at it. When was the last time you tried to buy a car and got played with the back-and-forth between yourself, the sales dude or dudette, the sales manager, the finance guy, the general manager … hell, the corporate head?
When was the last time you tried to buy a trinket off the street on a tourist-ridden Caribbean island? The last time you negotiated a personal contract?
It’s complicated. Understood.
But at some juncture, as Greg Foster once so infamously put it, “It’s nut-cutting time.” (That’s when shipbuilders sheer off the nuts on the plates of a vessel under construction, and at an important juncture, those nuts must be lopped off.)
For the Jazz, it’s time to cut.
I’m no professional negotiator, and maybe these things as part of the art of it need to be dragged out — until desperation sets in. Perhaps that’s sound strategy.
But it’s killing Jazz fans, removing their teeth, one by one, down to the roots.
They don’t know what to root for, not anymore.
They don’t know what their culture is or who’s at the center of it.
Is Donovan theirs? Or is he someone else’s?
Will he be decked out in bumblebee yellow and black in October or in New York orange and blue? Or in some other team’s colors?
Does he want to stay in Utah? Or does he want to go home to the big city?
Furthermore, do the Jazz want him?
It would be worse if he actually does suit up with the Jazz, everyone knowing he’s a lame duck. That would add more pain.
That’s the way fans think. They want to know who to embrace, what to cheer for, what to hope for.
And right now they are in a dark cloud, seeking cloud nine, but unable to know where to look for it.
If the Knicks really want their hometown kid, and they do, offer what you’re going to offer, best on best, and let it be where it is. This whole thing has been a bad look — for them, and an unfortunate look for the Jazz.
It may make Ainge look good, like a tough mother who can’t be messed with. That’s all good until it isn’t, until it passes the point of ridiculousness.
Keep Donovan Mitchell or trade him. But don’t do both.
Especially if the net difference in the reward is negligible.
Everybody involved — quit playing games and lay your best deal on the barrel now.
Time is wasting, and the patience of the people who buy your tickets is running thin.