It looks like Danny Ainge is doing his best to coerce the New York Knicks into offering an extremely heavy package to three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell. Ainge hopes to get seven or eight first-round picks in exchange for Mitchell, who stalled trade talks.
New York has eight tradable first-round picks along with several up-and-coming young players, but according to Marc Stein (subscription required), the front office hopes to use four or five of those picks for Mitchell.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported a little over two weeks ago that the Utah Jazz were finally willing to have trade talks regarding Mitchell. The Knicks and Jazz have talked about a potential deal, but talk has since died down. Ainge’s tactic is to wait patiently until he gets what he wants in return, but it’s hard to imagine New York giving up all (or nearly all) of his tradable picks.
And while the talks have remained silent, Ainge appears to be using at least one writer in particular to speak for him. Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix was on the Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday, where he talked about a possible trade with Mitchell.
Danny Ainge tries to send message to Knicks on Donovan Mitchell trade
Mannix started off by saying it could take “even longer” than a few weeks before anything happens on Mitchell’s trade front. Alright, that makes sense. With trade talks currently stalled, it will likely take more than two weeks for a deal to be reached.
However, here’s what Mannix had to say right after that: “I feel like some of these reports that are coming out about Mitchell at the Knicks are almost wishful thinking.” He passed away after saying that before plugging in a track he recently wrote about that said “this is exactly the kind of situation Danny Ainge wants to be in” since the Jazz aren’t in the running.
Mannix said Ainge “senses the desperation of the teams very well”. This was the case of the Minnesota Timberwolves, who inflated the market after trading for Rudy Gobert. Mannix’s case is that until a team gets desperate like the Timberwolves, Mitchell is going to stay in Utah.
He concluded with, “Danny Ainge is going to win this trade. He is. He’s just going to win this trade. He’s going to find someone there who’s just crazy and wants to make Donovan Mitchell so bad he’s willing to give away the kind of package that would almost make a Durant deal seem tame by comparison.
Are you done laughing? When you are, let’s start by trying to give Mannix some credence, but after reading this, you might feel the need to laugh again.
Yes, Ainge sits and waits until he receives the offer he is looking for, but the number of choices he is looking for is way too high.
According to Ainge’s thinking, KD should go for at least 15 first-round picks. It’s absurd. There’s no way a deal with Mitchell is more than Durant could do.
Mitchell still has three years guaranteed on his contract and is expected to opt for at least four first-round picks with a few players. The Jazz are still going to get a good amount in return, but setting the bar that high for Mitchell is absolutely insane.
Sure, Ainge probably likes being in that situation, but there have been rumors that Mitchell wanted to leave Utah for a while. And after another exit in the first round of the playoffs last season and Jazz Trading Gobert, Mitchell risks being the core of a rebuilding team.
I don’t want to speak for Mitchell, but why would he want that? He is 25 years old. If he’s traded to the Knicks, that won’t make them automatic favorites for a title, but New York is going the opposite direction from Utah.
Mannix stepped forward and defended Ainge, but the Knicks have what the Jazz are looking for. And hey, it also looks like the Knicks have what Mitchell is looking for too…