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Getty Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz warms up before their game against the Dallas Mavericks December 25, 2021 at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City.

The New York Knicks haven’t made a move yet, but they are still expected to be the favorites to land Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell in a trade.

While Mitchell hasn’t officially asked for a trade out of Utah, the trade of Rudy Gobert seems to signal a change is coming for the Jazz, and perhaps shedding big salaries will be best for them

Mitchell is signed until 2026, so the Jazz still have plenty of years left on his deal if they want to continue building around him, so there really is no pressure to trade him at the moment.

However, that won’t stop another team from swooping in and making an offer, and there’s a possibility the Jazz will receive an offer they can’t refuse. Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey suggests a deal with the Hornets that would see the Jazz guard land in Charlotte.

Hornets Steal Mitchell?

While the Knicks might still be the favorites in landing the star guard, the Hornets actually have a nice offer they can make made up of players and draft picks alike.

If the Jazz are looking for something similar to what they got for Gobert, the Hornets could certainly offer it. Here’s what Bailey proposes:

  • Hornets Receive: Donovan Mitchell
  • Jazz Receive: Terry Rozier, James Bouknight, a 2023 first-round pick, a 2025 first-round pick, a 2027 first-round pick and a 2029 first-round pick

Mitchell has a lot of ties to the New York area, and there’s a possibility the Knicks could just sign him outright in three years, so maybe they’d just play the waiting game. He’d still be under 30 by the time that day comes, so he’ll presumably have productive years ahead of him and it wouldn’t be worth giving up the future just to get him a few years early. This is where the Hornets could swoop in.

“But what if that just means the Knicks will be hesitant to include significant draft compensation for a player they can wait to sign outright?” Bailey asks. “Three years is a ways away, but the amount of picks Utah is reportedly demanding is daunting. So, it’s understandable for New York to be proceeding with at least a hint of caution. As it does, Utah seems to be looking elsewhere.”

The main hangup, for both the Knicks and the Hornets, is whether or not adding Mitchell would get them over the hump.

“Charlotte’s interest in Mitchell, meanwhile, is a little harder to grasp than New York’s,” Bailey continues. “Yes, he certainly makes the Hornets better in the short term. He and Ball are interesting theoretical fit, thanks in part to the 6’7″ Ball’s size. But Mitchell probably won’t make them a title contender. And emptying the asset cupboard to go from play-in range to slightly above that is quite a risk.”

Should the Knicks Worry?

As of right now, the Knicks shouldn’t be panicking because the reporting saying they are the frontrunners hasn’t changed.

However, if they wait around for too long, another team like the Hornets could step in and make the trade. Losing out on Mitchell wouldn’t be the end of the world, but it would be a disappointment for fans who believed they were very close to landing a true star in New York.

READ NEXT: Knicks Urged to Sign 8-Time All-Star & NBA Champion

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Nets Owner Joe Tsai Breaks Silence Amid Kevin Durant Trade Discussions

Getty Joe Tsai, owner of the Brooklyn Nets

Before the August 8 report from Shams Charania of The Athletic, everything seemed as if Kevin Durant would be back and a member of the Brooklyn Nets next season. Kyrie Irving, after the wild summer that he and the Nets had Irving was said to be in a ‘good place‘ with the Nets heading into the season. The Nets also had reports that were encouraging with a potential Durant return ahead of his meeting with Joe Tsai. However, his meeting with Tsai took another turn over the weekend. 

“In a face-to-face meeting with Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai over the weekend, All-NBA star Kevin Durant reiterated his trade request and informed Tsai that he needs to choose between Durant or the pairing of general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash, sources with direct knowledge of the meeting tell The Athletic,” Charania wrote. 

Tsai now has the enormous responsibility of siding with his front office and coaching staff in place or its once-in-generation talent of Kevin Durant. 

Joe Tsai Backs Nets Front Office and Coaching Staff

On August 8, Nets owner Joe Tsai seemingly drew his line in the sand with where he stands on the Durant trade discussions via his Twitter account. 

“Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets,” Tsai tweeted. 

Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.

— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) August 8, 2022

Earlier this offseason, Tsai was said to be so over Kyrie Irving in his contract negotiations that he would exercise the team’s stretch-and-waive provision if they were unable to negotiate a trade between them and the Los Angeles Lakers. Perhaps he is done with both of his superstars at the same time. 

When Tsai says they will act in the best interest of the Nets, it seems backed up by the reporting by Charania. 

“Tsai and the Nets have made clear privately that they will take every last asset from a team that trades for Durant, sources said,” Charania continued in his reporting. 

Teams in the Mix for Durant

Charania also named the three teams that have the best odds to land Durant saying, “The Celtics, Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat remain the most significant candidates to acquire Durant, sources said,” 

Bam Adebayo remains one of the players that a deal for Durant hinges on in discussions with the Miami Heat. So far, Miami hasn’t included Adebayo in any trade offers with the Nets but if they do, Durant could be headed to South Beach. 

The Celtics emerging into the trade discussions seemed to be a leak to help Nets negotiations as it came out weeks after the talks occurred, but the team could still come up with a proposal to acquire Durant. Brooklyn is said to be wanting All-Star Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, another potential role player, and draft picks in a deal to acquire the Nets superstar. 

The Toronto Raptors remain connected as a team that could land Durant, but unless they include the NBA’s Rookie of the Year, Scottie Barnes, the deal is unlikely to get done unless a third team enters the negotiations. 

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