As a team desperate for a star, it's no surprise that the New York Knicks have emerged as front runners in the Donovan Mitchell sweepstakes. As it stands, they are one of the few teams in the league with enough assets and enough motivation to trade for the young sharpshooter.
Unfortunately, the Knicks might not be as close to securing that deal as we originally thought. According to the latest update on the situation, the two sides aren't close to a deal, and there is considerable doubt that it will change anytime soon.
The sense I get right now is it’s probably not going to happen on an imminent level. The two sides aren’t close. To me, I think if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen closer to training camp or the start of the season. If it doesn’t happen then, we’ll see what happens closer to the February trade deadline. It’s one of the reasons why the Jazz haven’t made a lot of moves around their roster. Mitchell is a domino that has to be taken care of one way or the other. If the Jazz trade Mitchell, then it’s going to make sense to go younger. Then, I’d expect more moves on top of that.
The problem for the Knicks is that none of their collection of young players has drawn any interest from the Jazz. Utah doesn't want guys like Julius Randle or RJ Barrett, they want young guys with true star potential to go along with an absolute monster haul of picks.
I don’t think the two sides are close. I don’t think they have been close. We’ll see what happens as the urgency of training camp looms. The Jazz want what they want, which is picks out of this deal, and they want young guys on short or rookie contracts. By definition, that means Toppin, Grimes and Quickley. They’re good young players, and the Knicks want to protect those guys. The Knicks don’t necessarily want to put in their young guys. They want to try to unload some undesirable contracts. The Knicks don’t want to unload Derrick Rose. He’s long been a favorite of Tom Thibodeau. I know the Knicks want to hang onto him and Grimes. Those guys are priorities.
Obviously, the Knicks are as unpredictable as any team can get in the NBA. At this stage, with no direction or plan to follow, this can play out in a million different ways.
Still, it remains true that Donovan Mitchell is their best hope of breaking ground in the East. If they lose out on him now, despite gaining so much momentum, it would add yet another heartbreaking failure to New York's offseason track record.