Knicks have competitors as Donovan Mitchell sweepstakes heats up

Ryan Ragan
Knicks, Donovan Mitchell
Apr 18, 2022; Dallas, Texas, USA; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) reacts against the Dallas Mavericks during the second quarter in game two of the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks seem to be turning things around finally. Change was necessary after the franchise became the NBA’s perennial laughingstock. They found themselves towards the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings year in and year out. As of late, however, the Knicks seem to have a new identity. Two years ago, they surprised everyone by going 41-31 in a shortened COVID-19 season. They made the playoffs in that campaign, clinching the East’s fourth seed. Despite regression in 2021, the Knicks continue to build for the future. They will seek to compete in this upcoming season. This could come to fruition through the blockbuster acquisition of superstar Donovan Mitchell.

The Knicks made a series of moves on draft night to clear up roster and cap space. These moves led to the free-agent acquisition of guard Jalen Brunson. Brunson will see significant time for the Knicks this season. He will likely be their third scoring option behind Julius Randle and blossoming star RJ Barrett.

The signing of Brunson should be the first of several roster moves for the Knicks this offseason. The Utah Jazz made it clear that superstar Donavan Mitchell was on the trading block. Fans have long viewed Mitchell as a perfect fit for the Knicks. he is a New York native and an outspoken Mets fan. 

The Knicks were one of the first teams to pursue Mitchell, but early on, it seemed as though negotiations had hit a roadblock. The Jazz seek first-round picks and youthful talent in exchange for Mitchell. The Knicks possess an abundance of both. However, the negotiations quickly hit a snag. Utah Jazz reporter Tony Jones revealed his knowledge of the specifics of what the Jazz were asking for.

“The Jazz have asked for at least six of New York’s eight tradable first-round picks and all of New York’s high-impact young guys. (Including) Quentin Grimes, Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, and Miles McBride.”

The Knicks viewed this request as unfair. They were unable to justify sending this package. However, the popular choice of team to land Mitchell are still the Knicks. They are currently the betting favorites for Mitchell’s next team if traded. Odds are set at -150 for the Knicks to acquire Mitchell.

Knicks Face Competition

Despite this, the Jazz have not resolved to send Mitchell to New York pending price. As many as six other teams have spoken to Utah about Mitchell, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. These teams include the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, and Washington Wizards. It is possible but not currently known if other additional teams have pursued negotiations with Utah. 

It is unclear if Utah has received any offers they have been pleased with. Nonetheless, it is very likely that he is moved before the season begins. Utah’s trade of star Rudy Gobert indicated that they seek to pursue a rebuild. It would not make much sense to hold on to Mitchell for much longer. He would carry a hefty price tag. It would behoove Utah to deal him in exchange for young talent. 

Despite these six other teams’ participation, Mitchell is still most likely to end up in New York. However, the added competition likely means that the Knicks will have to sacrifice more in order to attain Mitchell.