New York Knicks Scheming Hard On Utah Jazz Star Donovan Mitchell | That Might Mean Saying Goodbye To Fan Favorite RJ Barrett

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Utah Jazz have finally made Donovan Mitchell available for trade. Multiple sources recently reported that the Utah Jazz are now listening to trade offers for the star guard, just a week after trading star center Rudy Gobert for a sick haul of draft picks, signaling an official rebuild in Utah.

The team that most analysts are expecting to move intensely on Mitchell is the Knicks, who are leaning into the idea of making this acquisition happen.

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The NBA is a transactional league by nature, give and take. Teams are looking to get the most service out of a player as possible and get the most assets in return while his value is still high. In the case of the ever-rising love triangle between the Utah Jazz, Donovan Mitchell, and the New York Knicks, everyone is looking to be compensated by this possible transaction.

While Mitchell, who is every part of an NBA star, can win you plenty of games with the right supporting cast, he is not the final piece New York needs to get over the hump and become a championship-caliber team. With that being said, if the Gobert trade was any indication of what Utah is looking for return-wise, to get Mitchell in a trade a team would have to give up a king’s ransom to acquire the star guard.

Regardless of those challenges and dilemmas, Utah reporter Tony Jones is saying that New York not only has all the assets and pieces required to get a trade for Mitchell, but they seem to be very keen on getting Mitchell.

To many fans, this potential move would scream contender and “going all out” to acquire a new franchise star. Along with one of their centerpieces, the Jazz will require multiple draft picks in the trade to compensate for losing Mitchell. 

While difficult, it is possible. 

”ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that any potential trade deals for Mitchell would be expensive. The Knicks have all of their first-round picks along with protected picks from four teams that include the Mavericks, the Pistons and the Wizards in 2023 and the Bucks in 2025,” Sports Illustrated said this week.

The Knicks are also probably looking at giving up at least one of their star players to land the former Louisville star in a trade. Whether that be RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, or newly signed guard Jalen Brunson.

The New York Post believes that piece is Barrett.

 “The Jazz are going to want, almost certainly, RJ Barrett (and, if I were a betting man, one of either Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes or Obi Toppin).” The New York Post wrote. 

From there on the main question is who does New York benefit more from? Well, the Utah Jazz star is fresh off of averaging 25.9 ppg, 5.3 apg, and shooting just under 45 percent from the field. Compared to RJ Barrett’s 20 ppg, and 3.8 apg, on 40 percent shooting, it’s clear Mitchell is the better player to lead your team — or is he?

Mitchell had a 33 percent usage rate this season, per Statmuse, while Barret only had a 27.6 percent usage rate this season, Statmuse shows.

Mitchell averaged three more shot attempts per game than Barrett and also shot almost four more threes a game than Barrett did. Mitchell was the undisputed first option on his team, while Barrett was mainly the second option for the majority of the season behind Julius Randle. Looking at those factors, RJ Barrett hasn’t had the same opportunity and looks that Mitchell has had, so his potential is still untapped. He also had a borderline breakout season last year and is consistently improving. New York could be trading away a future perennial All-Star that is also a New York fan favorite. 

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Mitchell could just as easily become a fan favorite in New York, especially since he is a New York native. Born in Westchester County, he also grew up where the Knicks’ practice facility once resided. Being able to come back home to play ball is always a dream for almost any athlete, and Mitchell would be the biggest star in New York (given Brooklyn Nets’ KD and Kyrie are traded away before the season begins). Only time will tell if the Knicks make this move and whether it pays off in the long run.