Are Donovan Mitchell's days with the Utah Jazz numbered? Not a few experts think so, and they point out a rising team in the East as his potential destination.
Small market to big market
Rumors are circulating that Donovan Mitchell could be on his way out of Utah, especially if they suffer another first-round exit in the playoffs. He is under contract until the '25/'26 season after signing a 5-year, $163 million extension in 2020. Donovan is making $28.1 million this year and is set to make $37 million in the last year of the deal.
Utah is a small-market franchise. Even Golden State Warriors players Steph Curry and Klay Thompson were short on saying the city was boring when they played against them in the 2017 Playoffs. Mitchell surely sees himself as one of the best young players in the game and probably blames the lack of attention he's getting on where he's playing.
Every time there's a scenario like that - great young star frustrated in a small market - we know which team and city get brought up first. Cue the Sinatra song!
“The incessant buzz around the league is that there are those in Mitchell’s circle who believe he is too big of a star for Salt Lake City. Further, some say it’s only a matter of time before he joins former Creative Artists Agency agent and current New York Knicks president Leon Rose.”
Ric Bucher, FOX Sports
The New York Knicks are an emerging force in the East. Last season, they were the darling of the playoffs, but their exit proved the team lacks an A1 leader. With new leadership in the front office and on the sidelines, the Knicks aren't a joke anymore. But this isn't just pulling the Big Apple out of the "wild speculation" hat. The fact that Leon Rose, the Knicks GM, was Mitchell's agent matters - it matters a lot. That's why an Eastern Conference scout said, ”They’re a first-round exit from Donovan being in New York.“
When big trade happens, we usually hear about these details in the story someone writes a year after the trade. Out of all the rumors about Mitchell, this one would worry me the most if I were a Jazz fan.
Will Donovan leave?
It remains to be seen if Mitchell will leave. The 2-time All-Star played his whole career in Utah, but he is treading the Damian Lillard route.
Dame has been a TrailBlazer his entire career, but at 31 years old, the clock is ticking for a first and maybe last championship run. He had offers to play for the Lakers but turned it down. Portland is currently outside the playoff picture, and if Dame doesn’t get traded to a contender in the next few years, he might end up with nothing to show in his trophy case.
Can Donovan prove that loyalty trumps ring-chasing and more money? It will be interesting to watch the Jazz should they make the postseason. It could very well be Mitchell’s last dance in Utah.