Poll: Donovan Mitchell’s Future

When word first broke on July 1 that the Jazz had agreed to a blockbuster trade sending Rudy Gobert to Minnesota, reports from ESPN and The Athletic quickly clarified that Utah had no plans to trade Donovan Mitchell and intended to build its roster around the All-Star guard.

The reports made some sense. After all, there had been rumored tension between Gobert and Mitchell for years. Mitchell, who will turn 26 in September, is four years younger than Gobert and is on a slightly less pricey contract. If the organization was going to choose to move forward with one or the other, Mitchell seemed likely to be the pick.

On top of that, the return in the Gobert trade set up the Jazz for a quick pivot — they could incorporate reliable rotational role players like Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt and could conceivably flip some of the first-round picks they got from Minnesota for more pieces to complement Mitchell. Combining those assets with returning veterans like Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson, and Rudy Gay would provide the Jazz with a solid base.

However, that plan was called into question almost immediately as trade rumors began to swirl around Mitchell. Eleven days after the Gobert trade was first reported, Adrian Wojnarowski stated that the Jazz were open to inquiries on Mitchell. It didn’t take long for the team to engage in discussions with the Knicks, and subsequent reports identified the Heat, Wizards, Raptors, Hornets, Hawks, and Kings as teams with varying levels of interest in the All-Star guard.

Just as a plan to retool around Mitchell could be justified, so too could a plan to pivot to a full-fledged rebuild. Having already traded away Gobert and Royce O’Neale for draft-heavy returns, the Jazz could go all-in on the fire sale by moving Mitchell, Bogdanovic, Beverley, and other veterans for more assets, loading up on draft picks, and charting a new course under CEO Danny Ainge and head coach Will Hardy, both of whom joined the franchise within the last year.

Taking that path would make sense for the Jazz if they have reservations about Mitchell’s ability to be a franchise player. And if that’s the case, it might be the right to move him, while he still has multiple years left on his contract and hasn’t hurt Utah’s leverage by asking for a trade and forcing the club’s hand.

Since that initial flurry of Mitchell trade rumors in July, the rumor mill has slowed down a little. By all accounts, the Jazz are asking for a massive return for Mitchell, seeking the same sort of haul of unprotected picks and solid players and contracts they were able to extract for Gobert.

If no team meets Utah’s asking price, this situation could play out in one of two ways — the Jazz, having already ventured part of the way down this road, could commit to that direction and lower their asking price for Mitchell, accepting the best offer on the table. Or they could shut down trade talks and enter the season with Mitchell on the roster, putting off the possibility of a deal until at least 2023.

Both approaches are risky. The Jazz won’t want to sell off an All-Star in his mid-20s for less than what he’s worth. But by hanging onto Mitchell, they’d run the risk of eventually being forced into trade talks on his terms down the road, should he ask out of Utah. And the closer we get to 2025 (when he can opt out of his contract), the more reluctant some teams may be to give up significant assets for Mitchell without assurances he’d re-sign.

We want to know what you think. How much longer do you expect Mitchell do remain in Utah? Will these trade talks culminate in a deal later this year, or will the Jazz end up retooling their roster around the guard like those initial reports suggested?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to weigh in!

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