Donovan Mitchell is one of the best shooting guards in the league, and there's no doubt that he's a player that can change the trajectory of a franchise. Last season, Donovan Mitchell averaged 25.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 5.3 APG for the Utah Jazz last season.
During this summer, Donovan Mitchell's name was frequently mentioned in trade rumors. A team that was interested in pursuing him was the New York Knicks. In fact, the New York Knicks were willing to give up five unprotected first-round draft picks in a Donovan Mitchell deal, but unfortunately, they did not meet the Utah Jazz's asking price.
"New York made a recent offer of Evan Fournier, Obi Toppin, additional salary and two unprotected first-round draft picks (five total), league sources tell me and The Athletic’s Tony Jones. The Jazz’s asking price has been more significant than that.
Recently, it was revealed that the New York Knicks signed RJ Barrett to a four-year rookie extension worth up to $120 million. A report by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN has stated that the Knicks believe that there is a "more difficult path" to acquire Donovan Mitchell because of that. It seems as though part of that is because the Jazz "greatly valued" RJ Barrett in any deal for the three-time All-Star.
The Knicks did include Barrett in trade proposals for Mitchell, sources said, which is why the process to complete the extension extended several additional weeks. Barrett was a staple of several different trade variations discussed, but hurdles remained on Monday about the total of unprotected first-round picks in the deal and the inclusion of Knicks guard Quentin Grimes, sources said.
Nevertheless, the Jazz greatly valued Barrett as part of any Mitchell deal with New York, and a deal without him would require the Knicks to relinquish far more draft assets than they've shown a willingness to do, sources said.
Once the Knicks committed to Barrett's extension, management became resigned to the fact that there's a much more difficult path to an offseason deal to acquire Mitchell. Nevertheless, neither Utah or New York is ruling out restarting the talks before the start of training camps in late September, sources said.
There is no doubt that giving up RJ Barrett and multiple unprotected first-round picks could have robbed the New York Knicks of any future flexibility. Instead, it seems as though they are rolling with their current young core and hoping for internal development.
Of course, there is still a chance that the New York Knicks end up acquiring Donovan Mitchell. Anything can happen, but as of right now, it seems as though any Knicks trade for the shooting guard won't happen immediately.