Potential Knicks target Donovan Mitchell won't squash rumors that he'll ask for trade

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Donovan Mitchell closeup in multicolored Jazz jersey during 2022 playoffs
Donovan Mitchell closeup in multicolored Jazz jersey during 2022 playoffs

There have been rumblings for quite some time that Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell could ask for a trade if the team continues to spin its wheels in the playoffs.

And following Utah's first-round elimination on Thursday night at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks, Mitchell was asked if he would put those rumors to bed. He would not.

"My mindset is to win," he told reporters. "Right now, I'm not really looking at that. ... I just want to win. This hurts, and like I said, I'll think about it in a week. Right now I'm not really thinking about any of that, to be completely honest with you."

During Mitchell's time in Utah, the Jazz have yet to advance as far as the Western Conference Finals. They have been eliminated in the second round twice and first round three times.

The Knicks have long been linked to Mitchell, who recently heaped praise on emerging star RJ Barrett. And one Eastern Conference scout told Ric Bucher of Fox Sports back in January that the Jazz were "a first-round exit from Donovan being in New York."

Feb 7, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) and New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) shake hands at the end of the game at Vivint Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 7, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) and New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) shake hands at the end of the game at Vivint Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Additionally, Bucher -- citing "incessant buzz" that those in Mitchell's circle feel he's too big of a star for Utah -- noted that some believe "it's only a matter of time" before Mitchell joins former agent and current Knicks president Leon Rose in New York.

If Mitchell attempts to force his way out of Utah this offseason, the Knicks -- with tons of draft capital and several young players who could be enticing to other teams -- including Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, and Quentin Grimes -- could be a realistic trade fit.

As far as the Knicks being able to absorb Mitchell's contract, they have been deliberate in recent offseasons when it comes to not handing out crippling, long-term deals. As a result, the Knicks only have two players on the books beyond the 2022-23 season -- Julius Randle and Evan Fournier.

Mitchell, 25, just finished the first year of the massive five-year extension he signed with the Jazz in November of 2020, and earned $28.1 million this season. His salary will escalate by roughly $2 million per year each of the next four seasons, with the 2025-26 season a player option year.

Mitchell's father, Donovan Mitchell Sr., has worked for the Mets since 1999 and is currently their senior director of player relations.