SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (BVM) – It’s never too early to get the NBA trade rumor mill going and after plenty of championship caliber teams have bowed out of contention during this year’s playoffs, one name has come to the forefront of the NBA trading block.
Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz have been at odds for the last few years relating to the fit between the star guard and center Rudy Gobert. Following a disappointing finish in their first round playoff matchup, the rumors of a potential split have been top of mind of many around the league. With Danny Ainge taking a prominent role in the team’s front office hierarchy, the former Boston Celtics’ executive might offer his opinion on the matter.
With the Heat’s elimination in the Eastern Conference Finals, they look to be the leader of the pack according to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, who believes the New York Knicks have made it a priority to land the All-Star guard.
With another quick playoff exit, it might be time for the Jazz to pick between their two star players. Here’s a look at what the best potential trade packages might look like:
Heat receive: Donovan Mitchell
Jazz receive: Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, first-round picks in 2022 and 2024, and other salary
Fischer reports that any trade by the Heat would center around Herro and with Miami’s current cap situation, it would also figure to include Robinson or Kyle Lowry, who both contribute significant chunks to the Heat’s current projected totals. With Mike Conley Jr. still under contract, it wouldn’t make sense for the Jazz to add another lead veteran point guard to the mix.
This is likely a dream scenario for the Heat who end up with another star alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, something the team missed during its series against the Celtics. How Mitchell and Butler work together is something head coach Erik Spoelstra would have to figure out, specifically on the offensive end. But, with the offensive burden placed on Butler throughout the team’s playoff matchups, the move would alleviate some of the issues the Heat faced.
On Utah’s side, getting Herro back in any deal seems like a must, as the recent Sixth Man of the Year winner would take over much of the scoring left by Mitchell. There are still questions left by Herro and Robinson when it comes to playoff performances as this is another year that Herro has been unable to bring his regular season success to the postseason. Injuries did play a role in Herro’s run but Robinson was left outside of Spoelstra’s rotation throughout much of the playoffs due to his defense.
With questions surrounding both, it would be interesting to see if Utah would try and add upcoming unrestricted free agent Victor Oladipo into any deal for Mitchell by a sign-and-trade.
New York Knicks
Knicks receive: Donovan Mitchell
Jazz receive: Julius Randle, Immanuel Quickley, 2022 and 2024 first-round picks
Trading for Mitchell makes a lot of sense for the Knicks who are looking to pair up RJ Barrett with another star, and the two do make a lot of sense next to each other. With that said, it’s tough to see this package being enough for Utah to pull the trigger.
Randle could be an interesting frontcourt fit next to Gobert, but the tandem would seemingly make for a lineup better suited for a different era of basketball than today’s space-driven mindset. Quickley’s offensive abilities would help make up for the scoring left by Mitchell and could give the Jazz a formidable starting five.
It would be interesting to see if the Jazz would want someone like Obi Toppin instead, after the rising forward showcased a promising future throughout the last season.
Hawks receive: Donovan Mitchell
Jazz receive: De’Andre Hunter, Bogdan Bogdanović, 2022 and 2024 first-round picks
It was an odd year for the Hawks who went from the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals to an early exit in the first round of this year’s playoffs. Adding another star next to Trae Young will likely be Atlanta’s strategy this upcoming offseason as the team failed to find the same success they did the previous season. Trading for Mitchell would do that.
For Mitchell and Young, the pairing would give the Hawks one of the most lethal frontcourts in the league. Defensively, there would be some major question marks about the tandem as Atlanta has already struggled in the past guarding the perimeter.
The haul the Jazz would get in return makes a lot of sense, as Hunter gives the Jazz a much needed 3-and-D threat on the wing, while Bogdanović would pick up some of the scoring left by Mitchell. Utah offensively would not be the same, but defensively, this team could look a lot better.
For Atlanta, a trade for Gobert might make more sense than adding Mitchell if Utah seems poised to trade the All-Star big man instead.