Predicting when a Knicks-Donovan Mitchell trade will happen

Apr 5, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) reacts during overtime against the Memphis Grizzlies at Vivint Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) reacts during overtime against the Memphis Grizzlies at Vivint Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports /

Let’s be honest. At this point, a New York Knicks-Donovan Mitchell seems almost inevitable, but it’s going to come down to one side being willing to give up more (the Knicks) or to get less in return (the Jazz).

Given Danny Ainge’s track record with trades, some people believe that the Utah Jazz will get exactly what they’re looking for in a trade for Mitchell. Reportedly, the Jazz are hoping to get more in return for Mitchell than they got for Rudy Gobert, so we can thank the Minnesota Timberwolves for that.

Mitchell still has three guaranteed years left on his contract, so there isn’t a huge push for Utah to trade him. But with Gobert gone and the Jazz entering rebuild territory, it wouldn’t make sense for Mitchell to stay in Utah while he’s in the prime of his career.

Trade talks between the two teams have reportedly been stalled for a few weeks now, but as the 2022-23 season draws nearer, discussions could ramp back up in the next month or so.

Is Knicks trade target Donovan Mitchell going to play the entirety of the 2022-23 season with the Jazz?

According to Marc Stein, the 2022-23 NBA schedule isn’t going to be released until after this week. Media day will be in late September, which is when teams will be reporting to training camp. In typical Danny Ainge fashion, the Jazz are reportedly willing to keep Mitchell on their roster leading into training camp.

There’s still a little over seven weeks left until the start of training camp. New York’s had an eye on Mitchell for a while now and because the organization has the most to offer Utah, the belief remains that the 25-year-old’s next team is going to be the Knicks.

In order for New York to make that a reality, the front office is going to have to give up at least four first-round picks as well as several young players. According to reports, Ainge is looking for an additional two to three first-round picks and Quentin Grimes, which is an issue for the Knicks.

The Athletic’s Tony Jones, who covers the Jazz, said that he doesn’t believe that the two sides are close to agreeing to a deal. If a trade happens before the start of the season, here’s when Jones thinks that it’ll take place:

"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."

Mitchell’s been silent about the trade rumors. He has the power to request a trade, but he hasn’t done so (yet). He signed an extension in November of 2020, but him staying in Utah long-term has been called into question even before the Jazz fell to the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs a few months ago.

August’s the last full month of the offseason for players and September is the last full month before the regular season begins. A trade could happen this month, but that doesn’t seem likely with how things currently stand. Based on what’s been reported, my prediction is that a trade will happen in mid-September leading up to the start of training camp.

But as Tony Jones said, the Mitchell trade drama could extend into the first half of the regular season with a deal possibly happening before the trade deadline in February. That seems like the less likely option, but with Ainge’s past and the unpredictability of the NBA, that could end up happening.

The Knicks like to make trades on Fridays, right? Well, just for fun, here’s to predicting that a Donovan Mitchell trade will happen on Friday, Sept. 16. That’d give New York one last summer hurrah before fall begins.