The Utah Jazz’s season came to a disappointing end once again Thursday night after a six-game series with the Dallas Mavericks. Forward Bojan Bogdanovic got a wide-open look from three to win the game, but it clanked off the iron. As we know, regular season success does not lead to the same in the postseason and that’s particularly true with this Jazz team. Their playoff downfalls over the past few seasons have become well-known.
For awhile now, there have been rumors regarding the Jazz breaking up their duo of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell has proven to be able to carry them to playoff victories, while Gobert remains a stalwart on defense. The three-time All-Star seems more likely to perhaps force his way out of Utah, as the rumors have already began for this offseason.
In turn, it’s time to examine a few potential trade destinations for Donovan Mitchell.
Less than 24 hours after the Jazz’s loss, rumors have already began circulating regarding the upcoming offseason. The Miami Heat have already been thrown out as a potential trade destination spot for Mitchell. Dwyane Wade has recently become a minority owner of the Utah Jazz. In turn, Wade and Mitchell have become close, and Wade has likely given him some advice on the upsides of playing in Miami. The connection is there and so is the potential fit. Additionally, the Heat have shown a willingness to “go for it” over the years, led by owner Pat Riley. It is what has led to the huge offseason in 2010 when LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Wade on the Heat. In 2019, they gave up Josh Richardson, Hassan Whiteside, and others in a four-team deal that brought them superstar Jimmy Butler.
Most recently, the Heat traded for Kyle Lowry last offseason, as they gave up Goran Dragic and youngster Precious Achiuwa in the process. From this, it’s known that the Heat aren’t scared to make a big splash move. At 32 years old, Jimmy Butler isn’t getting any younger and could use a top-notch scorer alongside him. Mitchell’s defensive inefficiencies would also be partially shadowed by some elite defenders around him in Butler, Bam Adebayo, and others. The Heat have the ammunition to trade for him as well, as they have 22-year-old Tyler Herro, sharpshooter Duncan Robinson, and even youngsters on cheap deals like Gabe Vincent and Max Strus.
New York Knicks
I get it, it’s probably getting old. The Knicks being tied to virtually every big-name free agent and never capitalizing. The appeal will always be there though, and it’s only a matter of time before it does actually happen. For one, the Knicks are willing to spend the money on a guy like Mitchell. Just last offseason, they handed out a four-year, $73 million deal to Evan Fournier after missing out on top-tier players. The Knicks also have the Madison Square Garden working for them, arguably the most prestigious venue in the NBA. Now the problem with the Knicks lies in two areas. First, would Mitchell be willing to go to the Knicks? That question remains up in the air, and only time will tell. It would be Mitchell’s team and he’d immediately be the No. 1 option, which likely appeals to him a decent bit.
Secondly, would the Knicks have enough to trade for Mitchell? The 2022 NBA Draft lottery hasn’t taken place yet, but the Knicks are projected to have the 11th pick based on current odds. That pick would almost certainly have to be included, as well as future picks. As far as players go, Julius Randle seems likely to be leaving New York in the offseason. The Knicks’ best asset is R.J. Barrett, although it’s unclear if he would be included or not. Beyond Barrett, they have Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes, and Mitchell Robinson as potential options. All are under the age of 25 years old, but they may not be quite enough to get a player of Mitchell’s caliber. Regardless, the Knicks will be included in the rumors as a possible destination for Donovan Mitchell.
This is a destination that hasn’t exactly been rumored, but why not? A lot of it depends on what happens with Jalen Brunson over the offseason. Brunson helped defeat Mitchell’s Jazz, taking over for Doncic as the No. 1 option when he was out. In turn, he’s earned a big payday this offseason. Maybe he could even be discussed in a potential trade for Mitchell. With Brunson being a free agent, it would obviously have to be a sign-and-trade. Elsewhere though, the Mavericks don’t offer much in assets. 21-year-old Josh Green offers some intrigue, but he’s nowhere near being a headliner in a potential trade.
The Mavericks will become one of the most appealing free agency destinations over the next few offseasons. That may be where bringing Mitchell in is more likely, as opposed to a trade. Pairing a superstar with Luka Doncic and capitalizing on his talent is crucial for the franchise. In turn, they will be rumored with a lot of upcoming free agents and trade targets. They tried things with Kristaps Porzingis as Doncic’s running mate, and things just never seemed to work out. Now, they’re stuck in a bit of a middle ground. Doncic is good enough to lead them to the playoffs and even a series win, as he just did. With that being said, they still aren’t championship contenders as things stand without a second star. Acquiring Mitchell would do just that for the Mavericks.
The Raptors are another team that haven’t been connected to Mitchell, but are potential darkhorses. A few years ago, owner Masai Ujiri made a splash by trading for star Kawhi Leonard. It was risky, as Ujiri gave up fan favorite DeMar DeRozan in addition to center Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 first-round pick. The Raptors reaped the benefits of it though, as Leonard helped deliver the first NBA championship in franchise history to the city of Toronto.
The Raptors were unable to lock him up beyond that one year, but it was well worth it for both sides. A few years removed from that title, and the Raptors are back in the thick of things. They just took the Philadelphia 76ers to six games despite injuries all over their team. Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam are the headliners, but they have a lot more talent. That includes 2022 NBA Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent Jr., Precious Achiuwa, and Chris Boucher. They possess one of the more intriguing potential trade packages for Mitchell. A potential move to the Raptors is unlikely, but it’s one that would bring them back into championship contention.