NBA Rumors: Donovan Mitchell To Knicks Blockbuster Trade Possible, RJ Barrett As Main Trade Chip

Donovan Mitchell attending ESPY event
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JB Baruelo

Since suffering a first-round elimination at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks in the 2022 NBA Playoffs, rumors have been swirling around All-Star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell and his future with the Utah Jazz. After years of being stuck in mediocrity, most people expected the Jazz to break up the young superstar duo of Mitchell and Rudy Gobert this summer. However, though they have already traded Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Mitchell's name still continues to surface in various trade speculations.

Knicks Trying To Acquire Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell taking a free throw
Wikimedia | Frenchieinportland

After parting ways with Gobert, the Jazz have told everyone in the league that they have no intention to move Mitchell this offseason. However, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, rival teams claimed that the Jazz are now showing a willingness to listen to trade offers for Mitchell. Since Wojnarowski broke the news, several teams have expressed a strong interest in acquiring Mitchell from the Jazz, including the New York Knicks.

In a recent article, Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post revealed that the Knicks are "thought to be at the front of the line, trying to swing a deal" to bring Mitchell to New York this summer.

Knicks Need To Sacrifice RJ Barrett

RJ Barrett attending an event
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With their collection of young and promising players and future first-round picks, the Knicks are in a strong position to engage in a blockbuster deal this summer. However, to convince the Jazz to send Mitchell to his hometown, the Knicks will likely need to make a huge sacrifice. As Vaccaro noted, the Jazz are highly expected to demand a trade package centered on former No. 3 pick RJ Barrett in the potential Mitchell-to-Knicks trade.

"But the Jazz are a smart operation," Vaccaro wrote. "It will take more than draft picks — even if the Knicks are willing to part with four or five of them, which is what it took Minnesota to pry Rudy Gobert away from Utah. The Jazz are going to want players. 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). And this is where things get hard."

Donovan Mitchell Could Change Knicks' Fate

Donovan Mitchell going for a tough shot
Wikimedia | Dperfect

Trading Barrett would be a tough decision for the Knicks, but it would definitely be worth it if it means acquiring a player of Mitchell's caliber. The successful acquisition of Mitchell would fulfill the Knicks' dream of adding a legitimate superstar to their roster. Mitchell would significantly improve the Knicks' offense, giving them a legitimate No. 1 scoring option, as well as a great rebounder, playmaker, perimeter defender, and floor spacer.

Last season, Mitchell averaged 25.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.5 steals while shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from beyond the arc. Mitchell won't make the Knicks an instant title contender but if he meshes well with Jalen Brunson, Evan Fournier, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson, they could make a huge noise in the Eastern Conference next season.

Jazz Get Ready For Full-Scale Rebuild

RJ Barrett trying to penetrate the basket
Wikimedia | Coachtoes

Demanding a trade package centered on Barrett in exchange for Mitchell would make a lot of sense for the Jazz. After losing both Gobert and Mitchell, there's only one direction where the Jazz would be going. There's no better way to start a full-scale rebuild than acquiring a young franchise cornerstone like Barrett, plus talented prospects and future draft picks.

Barrett may still have plenty of things that he needs to improve in his game, but he has shown the potential to become a legitimate superstar in the league. If he continues his development and they manage to surround him with the right players, it won't take long before the Jazz become a relevant team in the Western Conference once again.