Donovan Mitchell exchanges rumors: The Knicks’ ‘backed back’ from the Jazz’s huge request that included six draft picks

NBA: Playoffs-Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz
Rob Gray / USA TODAY Sport

The New York Knicks are hot after Donovan Mitchell, but they need to be careful not to end up bidding against themselves in trade negotiations with the Utah Jazz. We know Danny Ainge has a history of asking for, and often getting, the world, and in fact, Ainge recently asked the Knicks for a king’s ransom in exchange for Mitchell.

According to Tony Jones of The Athletic, Utah offered Mitchell to New York for six future first-round draft picks plus Quentin Grimes, Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin and Miles McBride, but the Knicks “backed away” from that proposal.

New York was smart to do that. Utah wants rookie-choice elections and players rather than win-now players (a player queuing for a big payday, such as RJ Barrett) so it can go into tank mode and create financial flexibility through a rebuild, and there is no another realistic Mitchell suitor who can offer the six choices Utah asked for. New York can offer up to eight, but again, it only needs to dangle as many choices as are required to outbid the next-most team.

Miami, for example, can only offer two future elections (three, if it drops protection in the 2025 election, owes it to OKC or gets creative with the “next allowed” language in accordance with the Stepien rule, which dictates that a team cannot go consecutive seasons without a first-round pick).

The Pelicans could offer six choices if they wanted to mortgage their entire future on Mitchell, but with CJ McCollum on board, Mitchell feels redundant. The Thunder and Rockets, both filled with working capital, are still in the development phase. So the Knicks have the most to offer in terms of working capital and they will not let Ainge tear them off. They will give a choice more than the next team in line. Maybe there are five choices or four with all the young players. But it’s not six. At least not at this early stage of the discussions.

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