REPORT: Utah Jazz plan to build around Donovan Mitchell, not trade him

With the Utah Jazz ending in disappointing fashion after only six game matches against the Dallas Mavericks, you knew this was coming. There would be obituaries, there would be recaps, and above all there would be tasty rumours.

The Salt Lake City franchise has just collapsed for the sixth straight time, the fourth with Donovan Mitchel already in tow, and the third in the past four years without advancing even a single round. Ugh. All of this, of course, while benefiting from a near-rookie of the year who became a superstar and a perennial contender for Defensive Player of the Year.

So the questions were always going to come, and more than any other very specific after an endless cycle of failures: what next for Utah and the Mitchell/Gobert core by extension?

Athleticism Tony Jones, the beat writer from Utah, reports several pieces of information (paywall) that the site has had access to from sources close to the franchise. Jones broke it all down in an easy-to-digest Q&A format, so let me cover the more pressing topics he discussed next:

On the list being edited: The will be be changes, and Jones points out that at least a few starters are leaving the rotation entirely, and most likely the franchise entirely.

On a potential teardown: Bad luck here for the likely interested Knicks. Not in Utah’s plans at the moment, although there’s still a chance…although that most likely means Rudy Gobert is the man to be traded. The Jazz want to keep building around Donovan Mitchell, which makes perfect sense, don’t be naive because you’d be doing the same thing.

On the possible jobs of Rudy Gobert: Not at the same level as Mitchell, Gobert is still quite appreciated by the Jazz. I don’t need any sources to guarantee that. I mean: most rebounds in 2020 and 2021; most RPGs in 2022; most BPGs in 2017; Highest FG% in 2019, 2021 and 2022; […rest of a very long list of statistical accolades here…]and of course DPOY in 2018, 2019 and 2021. I don’t need to introduce Rudy, that’s what I’m saying.

Gobert is a veteran and will play next season already on the wrong side of 30. That shouldn’t completely rule him out of trade talks and/or a high rank in the value board of most potential bidders. This guy is a big man, and they would tell you that big men are tiredness while the wings and guards are wired. Yes indeed, #thisleague. Gobert is a fucking machine in painting, period. Don’t buy the story. You won’t get a better big boy with his candor ready to move him. It’s like that.

All of the above seems ominous for the New York Knicks’ prospects of bringing Donovan Mitchell home after spending five years in bitterly cold Utah. In all honesty, it sucks. Think about it for more than a second, though, and it might be better for all parties involved if everything stays the same.

Mitchell isn’t coming to New York for peanuts. Jazz transactions are now handled by a certain Danny Ainge, and you know Danny Ainge as the man who broke the brooklyn nets with a trade that continues to give almost 10 years later. If we are to be forced to trade RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Mitchell Robinson and a bunch of draft picks on top of that, not to mention the MSG roof, you may start forgetting to get that deal done, folks.

I don’t want to go back to the Nets and this misguided trade or the even worse and ongoing situation around BKN where a certain couple of players were acquired in exchange for a culture already in place which, well, let’s say is unobtainable these days – so much so that Ben Simmons embodies even that “Error not found” attitude itself.

The most interesting, and in a second piece for Athleticismit’s Knicks reporter Fred Katz answering a bunch of reader questions (paywall), including one asking if there’s any interest from the Knicks FO in Rudy Gobert.

Katz neither confirms nor denies interest when it comes to citing sources, but he does offer his two cents on that potential interest. The verdict: He’s intrigued by it all, but more like a dream scenario in which Gobert is eventually moved to places like Dallas (to play with Luka Doncic) or Charlotte (same with LaMelo Ball) given the big man’s skills .

As the reporter sees it for the Knicks, however, he thinks Gobert could cause more trouble than anything else. That’s reasonable, considering Gobert’s hefty $170M+ contract with Utah and the most likely asking price the Jazz put over his head. There would be players, youngsters, prospects, photos and everything you can imagine going the other way. Again: an easy no-no for me.

Knicks fans and watchers alike have complained about Mitchell Robinson’s paint-patching ways and how he murdered the pros of other players like Julius Randle and especially RJ Barrett. And you’re telling me the Knicks are bringing in Gobert? Leave me alone.

If you’re reading this, dear Knicks, do the right thing and sit tight for a while. Give him a break. Witness the draft lottery and pray for a lucky top 3 rebound. Then go from there. It makes no sense to lose our collective minds over the delusional, heartbreaking, irretrievable tragedy Mitchell’s trade would bring to New York.

Garland K. Long