Are Jazz Asking Too Much For Donovan Mitchell?

Aug 30, 2022, 1:51 PM | Updated: 1:57 pm
Donovan Mitchell - Utah Jazz - Los Angeles Clippers...
Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz looks on as the LA Clippers defeat the Utah Jazz 131-119 during game six of the Western Conference second-round NBA basketball playoff basketball game and advance to the western conference finals at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)
(Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Are the Utah Jazz asking for too much in trade talks for Donovan Mitchell?

On Monday, the New York Knicks signed guard RJ Barrett to a contract extension which likely removes him from any deal that could be made for Mitchell.

The Jazz had targeted Barrett as a centerpiece in a trade involving their All-Star guard but failed to reach an agreement by the Knicks’ Monday deadline.

Last week, the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled their names from the Mitchell sweepstakes despite offering a competitive package built around guard Collin Sexton and significant draft compensation.

The Knicks still have several pathways to complete a Mitchell deal, and interest remains among the Los Angeles Lakers, Washington Wizards, and Charlotte Hornets, but options are waning.

If the Jazz were unwilling to accept the Knicks package built around a young player of Barrett’s talent, and balked at the Cavaliers deal involving Sexton and other young pieces, is it fair to question whether the Jazz have set too high of an asking price for Mitchell?

One league source outside of the Jazz organization told KSL Sports that the massive haul the Jazz got from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Rudy Gobert “severely curtailed the trade market this summer.”

The Jazz got five players, four first-round draft picks, and a future draft swap from Minnesota setting the team up for a complete overhaul.

However, it’s believed Jazz CEO Danny Ainge wants a package that offers “as much, if not more” in return for Mitchell according to the source, and is perhaps the reason “why Donovan might not get traded.”

But, whether the Jazz are asking too much for Mitchell is a difficult question to answer.

Very rarely do 25-year-old three-time All-Stars hit the trade market, especially when they haven’t publically demanded to be moved. Even more rarely do star players hit the market with three years left on their current contract and no off the court issues to speak of.

That puts Ainge and Justin Zanik in the awkward position of trying to find a trade package worthy of Mitchell’s talent without prior examples to set the market.

That means the Jazz could price themselves out of a fair deal for Mitchell by overvaluing their asset, and, it wouldn’t be the first time Ainge has been rumored to have talked himself out of a blockbuster deal.

During his time with the Celtics over the last two decades, Ainge was routinely involved in trade talks where Boston nearly got a deal done, but weren’t quite able to cross the finish line.

Since 2014 Ainge and the Celtics were rumored to be close on deals for Kevin Love, Jimmy Butler, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, Chris Paul, James Harden, Miles Turner, Nikola Vucevic, and Aaron Gordon.

Yet despite plenty of talk, none of those deals were completed.

That isn’t to say that Ainge didn’t make more than his fair share of enormous deals with the Celtics. The now-Jazz CEO initiated the trade that brought Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to Boston, ultimately leading to an NBA title in 2008.

He also orchestrated the deal that sent Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn for four future first-round picks, including the top overall pick which was flipped for superstar Jayson Tatum.

And, it’s clear from his short time in Utah that Ainge is willing to make trades after the aforementioned Gobert blockbuster, plus deals involving Royce O’Neale and Patrick Beverley this summer.

But, with training camp rapidly approaching, and pathways to make a second blockbuster trade narrowing, the Jazz are running out of Mitchell trade options. With teams already pulling their offers, will the Jazz regret setting such a high asking price for Mitchell?

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