Report: The Jazz Are ‘Prioritizing Draft Picks’ In A Potential Donovan Mitchell Trade

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that “rival teams say the Utah Jazz are showing a willingness to listen on possible trade scenarios” for All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell. On Wednesday morning, further details about that situation came to light, courtesy of Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer and SNY’s Ian Begley.

Fischer reported that Utah is “engaged in various trade conversations to retool around Mitchell” and broached the possibility of a sign-and-trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers to swap Mike Conley Jr. for restricted free agent Collin Sexton. However, he followed up by noting “the Cavaliers wouldn’t appear to have a need for an additional point guard, and it seems unlikely that Conley would be the returning player Cleveland would prioritize if talks ever gained legitimate traction.”

“For now, the Jazz appear far more focused on restructuring their roster around Mitchell than moving him,” Fischer wrote. “Prior to June’s draft, the Jazz were seeking picks in the ranges of No. 15-25 for each of Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic and Royce O’Neale. sources told B/R, before O’Neale was ultimately moved to Brooklyn for what will likely amount to a late first-rounder in 2023.”

He noted that any Mitchell trade is not expected imminently, “barring a significant offer that Utah would be forced to consider,” though listed the New York Knicks as “the clear front-runner to land” the three-time All-Star. Fischer cited their plethora of draft picks and various talented young players as reasons behind their strong chances to acquire Mitchell.

“Utah’s appetite for [RJ] Barrett as the key ingredient in a Mitchell trade is unclear,” he said.

The Miami Heat were also mentioned as a potential suitor for Mitchell. Fischer reported that his conversations with more than “two dozen” league executives during Summer League indicated Barrett “boasts greater trade value” than Tyler Herro, due to Barrett’s edge defensively.

Meanwhile, Begley’s reporting centered closer to the New York-based teams in the Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, as well as what Utah might specifically be seeking if it elects to trade Mitchell.

“Teams monitoring the situation believe the Jazz currently are prioritizing draft picks in a return for Mitchell,” Begley said.

Begley, like Fischer, identified the Knicks as a prominent player in these discussions, given the fact they can send out as many as eight future first-round picks for Mitchell. Yet he articulated that prior to late June’s Draft, there was hesitancy from the organization to construct such a package because of how depleted the surrounding roster might be afterward.

“The thinking, according to people in touch with the club at the time, was that there wouldn’t be enough left on the roster to field a contending team,” Begley wrote. “I don’t know definitively if the club’s thinking as changed since we noted this earlier in July. But I don’t believe that it has.

“For example: People in touch with the club recently said New York has no interest in trading RJ Barrett in any deal.”

Begley echoed Fischer’s sentiment that the Jazz’s interest in Barrett is unknown, as well as Utah’s touting a preference to retool around Mitchell rather than trade him.

Where some of their reporting deviated, though, is the fact that Begley said Miami was considered the favorite to land Mitchell “earlier in the free agency period.” He also mentioned Brooklyn is interested in trading for Mitchell. Doing so would require the Nets to move Ben Simmons because a team cannot trade for two players on designated rookie max extensions.