When the Suns matched the Pacers’ offer sheet for Deandre Ayton on Thursday, the move increased the chances that Donovan Mitchell will wind up with the Knicks, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (hat tip to Adam Zagoria in a piece for NJ.com).
Windhorst explained that there were scenarios in place where Mitchell could have gone to the Nets and Kevin Durant could have ended up in Phoenix in a three- or four-team trade. Now that Ayton is ineligible to be moved until January 15, those potential deals are off the table.
“So I think this moves the Knicks even further into the favorite spot for Donovan Mitchell,” Windhorst said. “It’s really going to come down to negotiation. The Knicks are very interested, they are talking to the Jazz, but the Jazz have an extremely high bar that they’re setting early in these talks and it’s really just a question of how much can they get the Knicks to pay.”
A report on Friday set that price at three young players and six first-round picks. New York countered that offer and no progress in trade talks has been reported since then.
There’s more news on a potential Mitchell deal:
- Tim MacMahon of ESPN believes Mitchell will likely end up in New York, but negotiations might take some time, Zagoria relays in the same story. MacMahon points out that Utah is focused on getting draft assets to help with rebuilding, and the Knicks own 11 first-rounders in the next seven years. He adds that team president Leon Rose has to be careful not to bid against himself as the teams work out the specifics of a trade.
- Mitchell heard plenty of appeals from Knicks fans during an appearance Saturday at a Brooklyn Cyclones baseball game, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Mitchell threw out the first pitch and took batting practice with the minor league team, but refused to speculate on trade talks. “We’re not talking basketball,” he told reporters. “Ain’t nobody talking basketball.”
- In a separate story, Braziller talks to an NBA scout who believes the price for Mitchell is too high considering that he’s never led the Jazz past the second round of the playoffs. Another league source agrees, questioning whether Mitchell is too similar to free agent addition Jalen Brunson to form an effective backcourt.
- Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News examines options for getting Mitchell to New York, including a package based on draft picks, another one built around RJ Barrett, and potential multi-team deals.