Of course, other teams have already been watching for Mitchell to request a trade. The upside of landing a young star is so great, it’s worth plotting for years for the mere possibility of landing one. The tension in Utah gives vulturous teams (like the Knicks) reason for hope.
But after the Jazz’s first-round loss to the Mavericks, could Mitchell’s exit come sooner than later?
How much longer will Mitchell, who has three years and a fourth-year player option left on his contract, remain committed to the organization that drafted him?
Multiple teams are anxiously awaiting the answer, league sources say, and have been planning and plotting for months in anticipation of the three-time All-Star asking to be traded as soon as this offseason.
The big question: Are these teams just wishfully hoping Mitchell will request a trade this offseason, or has he sent signals behind the scenes that he plans to do so?
If Mitchell wanted to quiet the rumors, he didn’t seize the opportunity after Utah’s season-ending loss the the Mavericks last night.
He was asked directly: “Donovan, do you want to be in Utah?” Mitchell:
Yeah. Yeah, I think we were just given a chance to win. We fell short of our goal, and this hurts, Sarah, I ain’t going to lie.
Asked to addressed discussion he could ask out, Mitchell was more equivocal:
I’m answering the same question. My goal and my opportunity – my mindset is to win. And like I said, right now, I’m not really looking at that. I answered Sarah’s question, and you could take that. But for me, I just want to win, yo. This hurts, and like I said, I’ll think about it in a week and kind of go from there. But right now, Tim, I’m not really thinking about any of that.
It’d be surprising if the Jazz trade Mitchell this offseason. They’ve done so much to prioritize him. It seems more likely he and Utah would first try a shakeup around Mitchell rather than moving him.
But the Jazz conceded every point in Mitchell’s 2020 extension, including granting him a 2025 player option. With him locked in just three more seasons, the timeline is accelerated.
As quickly as a trade request this summer?
Rightly or wrongly, based on sound intel or pure speculation, opposing are readying for the possibility.