Sources told ESPN on Tuesday that rival clubs are suddenly willing to listen to potential trade offers for Utah Jazz All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, despite the Jazz’s previous refusal to entertain such inquiries.
The asking price appears high, but in the wake of Utah’s recent blockbuster Rudy Gobert trade to Minnesota, insiders say the Jazz are no longer outright rejecting offers for Mitchell.
On Saturday, when asked if Mitchell was regarded untouchable in trade conversations, Jazz general manager Justin Zanik alluded to the notion during a news conference.
Change is inevitable in the NBA, according to Zanik. “I’m not trying to be mysterious or anything, but Donovan is on our roster and he’s a vital part of what we’re attempting to accomplish. In the NBA, things are always changing, so I couldn’t sit here and declare that someone is impenetrable. We are attempting to construct a championship club, but there is absolutely no intention to trade Mitchell.”
The Jazz are willing to deal any player on their roster, but Mitchell is unquestionably the team’s most valuable and sought-after player.
Mitchell, 25, has averaged 23.9 points and 4.5 assists per game during his five-year tenure with the Jazz, and he has been a three-time All-Star in the past three seasons. The maximum agreement he signed during the 2020 offseason has four years and $134.9 million remaining, but the final season is a player option for $37.1 million.
The Jazz have qualified for the playoffs in each of the last six seasons, the longest active streak in the Western Conference, but have never advanced past the second round. Following this year’s first-round exit against the Dallas Mavericks, the organisation underwent significant changes, including the resignation of head coach Quin Snyder, the appointment of Will Hardy to replace him, and the trades of Gobert and starting forward Royce O’Neale.
Saturday, Jazz president and CEO Danny Ainge stated, “This season was not very enjoyable.” “This draught was tedious. Free agency was not very enjoyable. You’re over the tax threshold, there are no draught picks, and our club loses in the opening round. Not enjoyable for us. We want it to be enjoyable for both our fans and our players, but we haven’t had much freedom in recent years.”
After Gobert was dealt to Minnesota, Ainge and Zanik concurred with his opinion that the win-now window in Utah had closed. Four future first-round picks and the current No. 22 overall selection, Walker Kessler, highlighted the Jazz’s haul in the trade. In exchange for O’Neale, they acquired a 2023 first-round pick from the Brooklyn Nets.
“We fell short, therefore we must recalibrate and attempt to open the next window,” said Zanik. “Hopefully, it will be lengthy. We have work to do to initiate that.”