The New York Knicks are excited after Donovan Mitchell, but they need to be careful not to end up outbidding themselves in trade talks with the Utah Jazz. We know that Danny Ainge has a history of asking for, and often getting, the world, and in fact, Ainge recently asked Knicks for a king’s ransom for Mitchell.
According to Tony Jones of The AthleticUtah offered Mitchell to New York six future first-round draft picks as well as Quentin Grimes, Emmanuel Quikley, Obi Tobin and Miles McBride, but the Knicks “backtracked” on that proposal.
New York was smart to do so. Utah wants pickups and upsells on the winning players now (one player in line for a big payday, like RJ Barrett) so you can get into tank mode and create financial resilience through rebuilding, and no other realist suitor Mitchell can offer the six picks requested by Utah. New York can bid up to eight people, but again, you just need to stick to as many selections as required to bid on the next closest team.
Miami, for example, can only offer picks in the future (three if protection is dropped in 2025, picked by OKC or gets creative in the “next allowed” language under the Stepien Rule, which says a team can’t go for consecutive seasons without selection of the first round).
The Pelicans could make six choices if they wanted to mortgage their entire future on Mitchell, but with CJ McCollum on board, Mitchell feels redundant. Both Thunder and Rockets loaded with experimental capital are still in the development phase. So the Knicks have the most to offer in the way of venture capital, and they won’t let Ainge plunder them. They will give more choice than the next team in the row. Maybe that’s five or four picks with all these young players. But it’s not six. At least not at this early stage of the discussions.
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