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NBA - US Sports: Where does Donovan Mitchell's future lie?

08 August 2022 03:40:57 EST
Will Donovan Mitchell remain in Utah?

As it stands, Donovan Mitchell remains a Utah Jazz player but he is widely expected to leave the organization before the new season gets underway.

Utah are at the start of a rebuild following the departure of long-serving coach Quin Snyder at the end of last season.

There were rumours surrounding Mitchell and former teammate Rudy Gobert at the end of last season before Snyder's surprise decision to leave the Jazz after eight seasons in charge.

Three-time Defensive Player of the Year Gobert has now moved on to join Minnesota Timberwolves, forming a formidable frontcourt line-up alongside Karl-Anthony Towns, but as yet Mitchell has been unable to secure a move away.

The three-time All-Star hasn't officially requested a trade and is unlikely to do so, but there is an acceptance his heart lies elsewhere and it seems to be a matter of when, not if, Mitchell will exit the Jazz after five seasons.

Knicks are Donovan Mitchell's most likely destination

There have been a number of teams linked with Mitchell but one name that keeps cropping up is the New York Knicks.

The Knicks have had their eye on Mitchell for some time and if they were to sign the shooting guard it would represent a big coup for the franchise, and be an upgrade on their current options of Evan Fournier and youngster Quentin Grimes.

The arrival of Mitchell wouldn't necessarily turn the New York outfit, 34.00 to win the Eastern Conference, into a team capable of mounting a serious championship challenge - but it would be a statement of intent and may help convince other stars to make the move to Maddison Square Garden.

Mitchell is also believed to favour a move to the Knicks and some reports have even suggested a deal is close to completion - but there do appear to be a few sticking points.

One issue is apparently Grimes.  The Jazz have asked for the second-year guard to be included in a trade but the Knicks front office are reluctant to part with the 22-year-old.  Somewhat surprisingly, they are apparently open to the idea of including Obi Toppin as part of a potential trade package but that also comes with a few issues.

The Knicks are looking to offload Julius Randle after a disappointing campaign last season.  If Randle were to leave Toppin could replace him in the starting line-up but that would not be possible if he has joined the Jazz, and it would then leave the Knicks looking for another forward themselves.

Mitchell may be keen on a switch to New York, indeed they may well be his preferred destination, and the Knicks might be keen to sign him - but any deal looks complicated, and that could allow other teams the chance to move for the 25-year-old guard.

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Who else is interested in Donovan Mitchell?

There is a chance Mitchell could still be a Jazz player when the new season starts as he has three years left on his current deal, so Utah will feel they don't need to rush matters with the Knicks or anyone else. 

If the Knicks were able to do a deal that doesn't include Grimes that would have to be classed as a huge win for the organisation but Mitchell's contract situation, and the way he handles himself, means the Jazz can hold out for a better deal for the University of Louisville-product and that means other teams can get involved.

Utah are looking for as many draft picks as they can get for Mitchell as they plan a complete rebuild and that does limit the number of teams that will be able to sign him. 

There is also the possibility of a three-team trade taking place involving the Jazz, Knicks and one other organisation, potentially the Los Angeles Lakers, but such a deal brings further complications.

Miami Heat, 9.00 in the East, have a big interest in Mitchell but the Jazz seemingly want Bam Adebayo included in a deal and that is a non-starter. The Heat are trying to build around their current core, and breaking that up to bring in Mitchell isn't on the agenda.

Indiana Pacers were mooted as possible suitors during last season but they have probably filled their backcourt spots now and a center should be their priority.

Mitchell finds himself in an awkward position as there would be plenty of teams who would love to have him on their roster, but Utah have quite complicated demands and are looking for ways to focus on the future - namely young prospects and draft picks - in exchange, and that makes a trade difficult. 

The Knicks still look the most likely destination but it could be some time yet before the two organisations come to a deal.

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