RJ Barrett is out as a potential part of a New York Knicks trade for Donovan Mitchell, and there are $120 million reasons for that.
That doesn’t mean the idea of a Mitchell trade to the Knicks is dead, the sides are just not on the same page with what a deal would look like.
Mitchell, for his part, seems to want out of Utah.
Donovan Mitchell took "Utah Jazz Guard" out of his Twitter bio 👀 pic.twitter.com/OX280fSr3b
— Sporting News NBA (@sn_nba) August 30, 2022
How central Barrett was in the ongoing Utah/New York trade talks depends on who you ask. Barrett, the Knicks’ best prospect, was part of the talks, but some reports have said for a while that the bigger hangup was unprotected first-round picks. The Jazz got three unprotected (plus a top-five protected) picks in the Rudy Gobert trade, they want four in a Mitchell trade, something Marc Berman emphasized again at the New York Post.
“There’s no place for Donovan to go right now,” a league source said. “The Knicks can still get him.”
The Post has reported the Jazz are after four unprotected picks and the Knicks are looking to just give two with three conditional picks.
Jazz beat writer Sarah Todd put it this way:
Sources have indicated that there is still a chance that a deal gets done between the Knicks and Jazz. Though there seems to be philosophical differences in approach to getting a deal done. https://t.co/ONLak0m9cm
— Sarah Todd (@NBASarah) August 30, 2022
Those extra picks are where talks of the Lakers as a third team in the deal comes in — they have picks they can trade for 2027 and 2029. The Jazz want those picks and might be willing to take back Russell Westbrook (then waive him). The Lakers want to move on from Westbrook, but would they be willing to give up the only two first-round picks they control this decade for a couple of players from the pool of Bojan Bogdanovic, Evan Fournier, Malik Beasley, Cam Reddish and Jordan Clarkson. A few of those players would make the Lakers better, a solid playoff team, but not a contender. Is that worth two first-rounders to them?
The Lakers are the most likely path to the Jazz getting the pick package it seeks for Mitchell.
The talks do not seem to open the door for a return of the Miami Heat. Those sides reportedly are not talking (Miami can offer a couple of first-rounders plus Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson, that hasn’t changed). Pat Riley and company may make a call, but those talks have appeared dead for a while.
The Knicks and Jazz talks are not dead. The Barrett trade likely put them on pause for a little bit as the sides regroup, but Mitchell to the Knicks remains the only likely trade to get done.