While the Boston Celtics emerge as suitors for Kevin Durant, plenty of other teams have reportedly thrown their hats in the Donovan Mitchell sweepstakes.
The Utah Jazz guard has been most widely connected to the New York Knicks in recent weeks. However, whether any real progress has been made toward a potential deal is unclear, especially with one report suggesting the Jazz could be asking for as many as *seven* first-round picks. The Athletic’s Shams Charania also reported early Monday morning that talks have continued to move slowly and the two sides remain “far from an agreement.”
With that being the case, it didn’t come as a huge surprise when Charania went on to name-drop several other teams who have looked into adding Mitchell.
Along with New York, several other teams have expressed interest to the Jazz when it comes to Mitchell, such as Washington, Miami, Toronto, Charlotte, Sacramento and Atlanta, according to sources.
Like Brooklyn, the Jazz have held firm on setting a high bar on any potential Mitchell deal, and they expect to be patient throughout the process. For now, the Jazz will continue to evaluate incoming calls and seek ways to balance their roster.
Including New York – which I think remains the most likely landing spot – that makes six Eastern Conference teams involved in the Mitchell conversation. And I have to imagine that fact raises the Bulls’ ears a little, right?
While New York, Washington, Charlotte, and Atlanta all finished below Chicago in the conference last season, I don’t think it would be crazy to say adding a player of Mitchell’s caliber could vault them up the leaderboard. And somewhat significantly. We can make that point with even more confidence when talking about Toronto, who used a late-season push to surpass the Bulls in the standings in the final month of the regular season.
In an offseason where we’ve already seen the conference improve with moves like Dejounte Murray going to Atlanta and Jalen Brunson going to New York, adding Mitchell into the mix would only give Bulls fans another reason to bite their fingernails.
There are only six spots to avoid the Play-In Tournament, and we already watched this roster struggle to secure that spot last season. Sure, lack of health likely played the most influential role in that, but who is to say problems with health will not arise again? And, more importantly, what if these improvements by conference foes have put them closer to the level of a fully healthy Bulls team?
The main point I’m trying to make is that being a playoff-caliber team means you always have a target on your back. The Bulls have to continue to develop and improve their roster to ensure that – at worst – they can stay as competitive as they were last season. I’m still not so sure they did that by simply adding Goran Dragic and Andre Drummond when we consider the other roster additions in the East … but I guess we’ll see.