Well, it was quite the five years for Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz. They made the playoffs all five seasons, but failed to make it past the second-round once. Due to problems between center Rudy Gobert and Mitchell on and off the court, the Jazz had to break up the band.
Utah traded Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves and is now looking to trade Mitchell so they can enact a full-scale rebuild. There have been several teams that have called about Donovan Mitchell, but there are a few teams that would be even more compelling if they were able to land Mitchell.
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Now you’re probably asking yourself “Why on earth would a team that finished with the second-worst record in the league last season and is still in rebuild mode, trade for Mitchell?” One word: opportunity. The Magic haven’t had a guard on their roster that could score like Donovan Mitchell since Tracy McGrady back in the early 2000s.
Over the past two years, Mitchell has averaged just over 26 points a game on 44% shooting. The efficiency could be better, but the Magic are desperate to get consistent scoring out of their guards. They have a few young guards who have shown promise like Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs and Markelle Fultz, but it looks unlikely that any of them could be the scorer that Mitchell is.
Admittedly, Mitchell looked lost on defense last year and it’s a huge question mark for any team looking to acquire him. He has the athleticism and wingspan to be a good defender, so next season will be key for Mitchell to prove that he won’t be a liability on defense going forward in his career.
The Magic have the young assets and draft capital to go after Mitchell, but they may want to see what they have in their young core after selecting Paolo Banchero with the No.1 overall pick in this year’s draft. Mitchell turns 26 before next season and is entering his prime, but he doesn’t exactly fit the Magic’s timeline.
Even though the Magic are going through a youth movement, Donovan Mitchell would provide them with perimeter scoring and star power that they haven’t had in a decade.
New York Knicks
For years, the Knicks have been yearning to add another star through a trade or free agency. Julius Randle looked to be one of those pieces after being named an All-Star and a member of the All-NBA Second Team two seasons ago. However, Randle regressed last year, and as of now, his 2020-2021 performance looks like an outlier.
The Knicks signing of point guard Jalen Brunson could help unlock the Randle of two years ago since Randle played the majority of last season without a true point guard. The Knicks also have a chance to add another dynamic to their offense by bringing home Mitchell who grew up 45 minutes away from Madison Square Garden.
Again, Mitchell’s defense is a big question mark. (I can already hear Tom Thibodeau yelling at him on the sideline because of a missed assignment) However, Thibodeau is one of the few coaches in the league that should be able to get more out of Donovan Mitchell defensively.
The Knicks’ backcourt was lackluster defensively last season and it’s hard seeing a Brunson-Mitchell duo being much worse.
The way that the Knicks’ roster is currently constructed, has them stuck in the NBA’s purgatory. By trading for Mitchell, it would be a major step in getting out of that territory and a sign that things are changing in New York.
They have the draft capital, young pieces and the hometown appeal to make a deal, but will the Jazz be compelled by their offer?
Even with the news that the Heat are prioritizing a deal for Kevin Durant over Mitchell, it seems more likely that they’ll have to shift their focus to Mitchell at some point. Unless they are willing to move on from center Bam Adebayo and the Brooklyn Nets move on from forward Ben Simmons, a Durant trade seems unlikely.
Mitchell would be a big boost to a Miami offense that has relied on Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Adebayo the last few years. The trio had their injury problems last year and Donovan Mitchell would take the pressure off of Butler and Adebayo. Herro is left out because he assuredly would be dealt in a Mitchell trade.
The Heat’s defense could take a hit depending on what they have to give up, but Miami is another team that could get the most out of Mitchell defensively. “Heat Culture” has been the slogan that the Heat organization has lived by for years, and Mitchell seems like a player who could fit into that mold seamlessly.
After finishing as the No.1 seed but coming up short in the Easern Conference Finals, the Heat may need to make a move that can raise their ceiling. The Boston Celtics keyed in on Butler and Adebayo in the playoffs because that was the Heat’s main source of offense, so adding Donovan Mitchell could open up things for the pair.
They have a few young assets and draft picks that could make a deal compelling for the Jazz, however the Heat are rarely at the bottom of the league so those draft picks may not hold much value.
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