Danny Aing is a radical man. It’s either all in to win the championship – as it was when he switched all Boston CelticsKevin Garnett and Ray Allen’s youth in the summer of 2007 – or it’s over. When it became clear that the Celtics were no longer a viable contender for the championship, they replaced Garnett and Paul Pierce with full futures by one stroke.
This always made the idea that a file Utah Jazz Donovan might keep Mitchell after dealing with Rudy Gobert in a funny way. Nothing at Ainge suggests that he would be interested in chasing the course of play for a year or two before Mitchell finally makes his way to a competitor of his choosing. Indifference is many things. Phantom is not one of them. Once it became clear that jazz in its former build would never win a championship, a large-scale reboot involving the trades of both Mitchell and Joubert felt inevitable.
So as we build potential Mitchell deals in light of Adrian Wojnarowski’s deals,We must do so through the lens of Ainge’s ambitions. This is not a man known by half standards. He wouldn’t want to make a deal that would make jazz somewhat competitive. The name of the game here is Choices and Rise. In an ideal world, Utah would land assets that would pay off without threatening its immediate tank efforts. Here are the top five bands who are the best to give jazz such a package.
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You’ve certainly heard about communications by now. Mitchell is represented by the Civil Aviation Authority. Knicks president Leon Rose once ran CAA’s basketball operations. Mitchell grew up in neighboring Connecticut. His father worked for the New York Mets. The interest here is almost certainly mutual. The question is the price.
Knicks can send jazz up as much capital as a subscriber as anyone else. They have eight tradable picks in the first round, including four of their own. At Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin and Quentin Grimes, they have a cadre of interesting young Utah guys to seize the opportunity. But the streak here is probably the previous year’s No. 3 RJ Barrett. After all, if the Knicks traded everything in for Mitchell, they would have no room for improvement. Pairing Mitchell, 25, with Barrett, 22, and Jalen Bronson, 25, would give New York three little stones to grow around.
Will Barrett be a deal breaker for Utah? Probably not, especially given the limitations facing other suitors here. If the Knicks put seven or eight first-round runs on the table, no one else would beat it. Right now, they’re in the driver’s seat with or without a Barrett, and that probably fits a Utah just fine. It’s too good to be used properly anyway.
A limited venture capital in Miami will make Mitchell’s trade difficult. The Heat don’t have any outside picks from the first round, and they owe one of their own in 2025 to Oklahoma City Thunder. As it stands, they can submit two- and three-trade Jazz first-round picks and 2022 first-round picks Nikola Jovic. If they are a little creative in the language of choices, they can send a third jazz, but this strategy is not without risks. The protection on the pick they owe to the Thunder could delay his transfer until 2026, and if that happens, the Heat can only legally trade their 2028 pick after that according to a few notable CBA rules.
The Stepien rule prevents teams from being without a pick from the first round in back-to-back drafts. The “seven-year rule” prevents teams from trading selected picks for more than seven years. In other words: The Heat could offer its picks for 2023, 2027, and 2029 to Mitchell provided that 2025 picks to go Thunder, but if the lottery-protected Thunder pick isn’t carried over in 2025, the 2027 pick will be rolled back to 2028 and 2029 should be converted to seconds Because 2030 is more than seven years away.
However, working for Miami is Ainge’s long-term interest in Hero. He is said to have been very interested in adding the former Kentucky star with the 14th pick in the 2019 draft, but Miami snatched him in one spot earlier. If Ainge views Herro as the cornerstone of his post-Mitchell roster, he’ll consider the Miami show.
One quick note to note: While Mitchell and Pam Adebayo are both in certain junior stretches, they can legally play on the same team because Miami drafted Adebayo. However, Mitchell cannot play on the same team as Ben Simmons, who also has a certain rookie deal, but has been traded to Brooklyn. Teams can contain certain novice players provided that at least one of them has been drafted by the respective team. Speaking of Brooklyn…
As we’ve discussed, Simmons and Mitchell cannot both play for the Nets next season. So… what if Simmons was on another team? Here’s the scenario: The Nets trade Kevin Durant for a team capable of providing them with both draft picks and high-profile veterans (let’s say the Toronto Raptors because of their endless supply of wings). Then they turn around and flip Simmons elsewhere to get draft picks and, as expected, swap Kyrie Irving for Lakers More venture capital. Suddenly, between three deals, the once barren networks have amassed enough choices to move to Utah for Mitchell, and through Durant, have also amassed enough supporting talent around Mitchell to compete reliably in the fairly near future (let’s say a Pascal mix Siakam), Fred Van Vliet, OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr. and Precious Achiuwa).
It’s not an instant contender, but it’s not inferior either, is it? It’s at least a start, an establishment built on a 25-year-old All-Star who seems to want to be in their city and a support staff grown from the best NBA development infrastructure. Given how limited Brooklyn’s options are at the moment, you could probably do a lot worse than start over with Mitchell.
The real problem here is the mechanics of the deal. There are a lot of moving parts to consider. Is there a suitor willing to turn over multiple first-round players for Simmons? Minnesota was the clear cut, but gave it all to Joubert. Maybe Cleveland? And would Durant accept trade to any destination other than Phoenix or preferred Miami? Will the Lakers cough up a second player first for Irving? Many things must happen for Brooklyn to be viable. The road is there if the nets want to take it, but it’s treacherous.
Let’s say Toronto isn’t particularly excited about trading with the 34-year-old Durant. Could Mitchell be a viable alternative? Toronto is so full of defensive flanks that protecting him at the end of the floor seems more than possible. His solo scoring is exactly what they’ve been missing since the departure of Kawhi Leonard, and his youth and three years of control over the remaining team will give them some grandstand to build around him.
But the fundamental question here is the same as the one facing Toronto regarding Durant: Will the Raptors introduce Scotty Barnes? The answer is probably no. Barnes is a potential future star. But Mitchell is a star ImmediatelyAnd, unlike Durant, it will likely remain that way for some time. The Raptors may be ceding some of the upside in taking the sure thing, but they are eliminating most of the risks of Barnes’ growth stagnating. If he grows into an established star like Mitchell, his growth will be considered a success.
He traded the Raptors for a star who had never wanted to be in Toronto once before. Losing Leonard will likely scare Toronto out of the race. Unless Mitchell expresses a keen interest in joining the Raptors, Barnes is simply too valuable in the hope that Mitchell is excited to be a Raptor and can lead you to a championship. However, if they were to give up Barnes for anything, the 25-year-old All-Star would probably be among their first choices.
This is one of those ideas that makes more sense on paper than in reality. Mitchell is better than CJ McCollum. It’s half a decade younger. New Orleans has up to six tradable picks in the first round, and two of them can be highly valued Lakers picks. If New Orleans was primarily interested in maximizing the title window, McCollum flipping some assets and then moving on to Mitchell with everything would make a lot of sense.
But basketball is not played on paper. Teams simply don’t trade established stars only to intentionally replace them after six months. McCollum was a key voice in the locker room last season. They’re not going to dismantle what a team was happy about last season to hunt down a frontier player in the NBA who would only represent a modest promotion over the incumbent. This is not how basketball works. If so, then it’s possible that the Pelicans are courting Durant more aggressively at the moment.
So no, the Pelicans probably aren’t into Mitchell. They just happen to be one of the few teams with the assets to get him while they remain competitive over the long term. In the end, the Pelicans will likely push their chips to a third star alongside Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. Mitchell probably won’t.
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