The Jazz May Be Asking for As Many As *SEVEN* First-Round Picks for Donovan Mitchell

As the Kevin Durant news hits a speed bump, the Donovan Mitchell trade talks have become an even bigger story.

The New York Knicks have quickly emerged as the prime suitor for Mitchell. Reports have confirmed that the two sides have spoken about a possible deal, but whether or not one will be reached remains a question only time can answer. A main reason for that is surely the Jazz’s understandably high asking price for the three-time All-Star, which could include a truly absurd number of first-round draft picks.

Long-time NBA insider Marc Stein was joined by The Athletic’s Tony Jones to discuss the outline of a potential Mitchell deal during a recent Spotify Live. In that discussion, Stein shared that he’s heard Utah’s Danny Ainge is asking for as many as seven first-rounders, which is one shy of the limit a team can trade.

“My intel has been that the Knicks are trying to do this only surrendering four or five firsts. Someone I trust told me today they think Danny was going for seven of the eight firsts, so I don’t know exactly what’s what,” Stein told Jones.

My oh my!

Considering the organization retrieved basically five first-rounders for Rudy Gobert earlier this offseason (four future picks and No. 22-overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft Walker Kessler), it makes sense that the front office would expect even more draft compensation for a player as young and playoff-tested as Mitchell. But Minnesota’s decision to dump that many assets into Gobert felt like an overpay from the jump, and we are now seeing the ramifications of that decision.

Indeed, I can’t imagine many franchises would be willing to offload seven first-rounders, especially when we consider the goal will be to immediately contend with a player of Mitchell’s caliber. Those first-rounders – as well as whatever talent goes back in the trade, as well – could be pivotal in adequately building the rest of the win-ready roster.

With all of that in mind, I can’t say I’m shocked ESPN’s Brian Windhorst recently reported the Mitchell situation could be nearing a “stalemate.”

https://twitter.com/_Talkin_NBA/status/1549734211074097159?s=20&t=uWWUWa-_8qOQi4k6N_-vSg

The Jazz have no need to lower their asking price right now, especially if there isn’t a ton of pressure from Mitchell to get a deal done. However, as the season nears, both the Jazz and Knicks will want to have a better idea of what the future holds.

In other words, the Jazz might want to start their rebuild in earnest while the Knicks will want to ensure they re-enter the playoff picture in the East. So the two might feel compelled to meet in the middle sooner than late, which is what Jones projected when speaking with Stein earlier this week:

“I think it takes at least five,” Jones said. “I think maybe it gets done with four, but no less than four certainly. I think the sweet spot is probably five. The reason I say this is, yes, the Knicks have a lot of young guys, but none of those young guys that could possibly go back to the Jazz will be Donovan Mitchell at any point in their career.” 

We have to consider that whatever this price ends up being will only further impact the price tag for Kevin Durant. I have to imagine this is part of the reason we’ve seen the Nets show a lack of urgency to feel out the market. They know some dominos still need to fall, and they want to make sure the market is leaning fully in their favor.

The last thing I’ll say for now is this: I hope this superstar price tag comes back down to earth very soon. The Bulls don’t have much draft capital on their side for the foreseeable future, and this messes with the value of everyone from role players to co-stars. Continuing to grow this roster could be extremely difficult if the NBA stays on this track.

written by

Elias Schuster is the Lead Chicago Bulls writer at Bleacher Nation. He started with BN full-time in 2019 immediately after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with a degree in Journalism (yes, he started with the Jim Boylen Era). Since joining, Elias has been the driving force behind Bulls and NBA content for both the site and social accounts. You can follow him on Twitter/X @Schuster_Elias.

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