Utah Jazz: The Raptors made a call for Donovan Mitchell

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Utah Jazz have been engaged in trade talks with the New York Knicks to move superstar Donovan Mitchell. According to Shams Charania of the Athletic (subscription required) Washington, Miami, Toronto, Charlotte, Sacramento, and Atlanta have all also inquired about trading for the Utah star. Mitchell has yet to formally request a trade, so the Jazz front office is in no rush to find a potential suitor. President Danny Ainge and the rest of the organization remain determined to trade Donovan Mitchell away for nothing less than six-first-round picks.

This mix of teams that are looking to acquire Mitchell is an interesting one. Only Miami is a contender after taking Boston to seven games in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. Toronto and Atlanta were the only teams to make the playoffs, losing in the first round. Charlotte lost in the play-in game, and Washington and Sacramento did not even make it that far.

I find it hard to believe that Mitchell will end up in Atlanta or Sacramento. Atlanta recently acquired another young guard in Dejounte Murray, and they simply do not have the draft capital that Utah is asking for after trading for Murray. A three-guard lineup with Trae Young, Murray, and Mitchell would be fun to watch, but it is sadly not happening. Sacramento could find a way to give up the draft capital that Utah is asking for, but it is not a desired destination for NBA stars. It is highly improbable that Mitchell gets traded to Sacramento and has a long career there.

That leaves us Washington, Charlotte, Miami, and Toronto.

Of these four teams, Toronto has the best chance to create a compelling offer that convinces Utah to part ways with Mitchell.

Utah Jazz: What could the Raptors offer for Donovan Mitchell?

First and foremost, Toronto’s package needs to be centered around one of their four most expensive players and one to two bench players and picks to balance salary caps per the NBA rules. One of Pascal Siakam ($35.45 million), Fred VanVleet ($21.25 million), Gary Trent Jr. ($17.51 million), and OG Anunoby ($17.35 million) must headline the package to balance Mitchell’s $30.35 million contract.

Unlike the other five teams who have recently expressed interest in Mitchell, Toronto owns all their first-round picks in the next seven years, giving them access to four first-round draft picks to send to Utah. For those wondering why Toronto can only send four draft picks to Utah, it is because of “The Stepien Rule,” a rule designed to keep teams from trading consecutive first-round picks in a trade.

If I were Toronto, I am looking to hold onto Siakam and VanVleet, my two best players, along with 2022 ROY winner Scottie Barnes, leaving Trent Jr. and Anunoby on the trade block for Mitchell. Toronto cannot propose one of these two players and picks because the caps still do not balance, so I envision Toronto throwing in bench players, Khem Birch ($6.67 million) and Svi Mykhailiuk ($1.88 million) to make the deal work.

There are still a few questions that still need to be answered.

The first is, who does Toronto offer, Trent Jr. or Anunoby? Mitchell would come in and replace Trent Jr., so it makes sense for him to be the one to go to Utah instead of Anunoby. The young guard would become one of the top offensive players in Utah and a piece to build around. In Toronto, he would likely move to the bench with Mitchell’s arrival and see fewer offensive opportunities than last season.

The second is, will Utah accept anything less than six first-round picks? A package of Trent Jr. Birch, Mykhailiuk, and four first-round picks is the best package that Toronto could offer. Few teams in the league can give up the kind of draft capital that Utah is looking for, and after New York declined Utah’s offer that consisted of young players and six-picks, it is unlikely that they will receive this kind of compensation from another team.

Next. The New York Knicks reject the latest Utah Jazz trade offer. dark

A young talent in Trent Jr. and four first-round picks are probably among the best offers Utah will receive for Mitchell. I cannot know what kind of trade package the Raptors organization has offered Utah, but if it is similar to this mock trade, I can 100% see Mitchell ending up a Raptor next season.