When the Utah Jazz traded Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves last week, which netted them a haul of first-round picks and young players, all eyes turned to see what franchise star Donovan Mitchell would think of the situation. The Jazz didn’t return any players that make the team immediately better for next season, so it’s natural to wonder if Mitchell may be getting a wandering eye for other franchises. It was reported after the Gobert deal that the Jazz have no plans of trading Mitchell, and planned to retool around him with future moves. But as we’ve seen countless times in this league, when it comes to a franchise star, the players tend to hold a lot of leverage.
Though Mitchell hasn’t publicly commented on the Gobert trade or the Jazz’s future, Brian Windhorst reports that the All-Star guard isn’t planning on requesting a trade right now.
“After the Gobert trade there was a belief that maybe Mitchell would be next, maybe at some point he will be, but for now the Jazz are telling people they don’t intend to trade him,” Windhorst said. “And on Mitchell’s side, he’s gonna stand pat, he’s not gonna force any action right now.”
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The key phrase in that quote from Windhorst is “right now,” because while Mitchell may not be planning an exit strategy at this moment in time, that doesn’t mean that he won’t try to force a trade at some point in the future. It sounds as though Mitchell’s future with Utah hinges on what the team’s follow-up moves will be after the Gobert trade because right now this roster as currently constructed isn’t going to be a championship-contending team in the fall. Utah has to have other plans up its sleeve to put an adequate supporting cast around Mitchell, but like most everything else in the league right now, it sounds as though those follow-up moves may be held up by the Kevin Durant sweepstakes.
Windhorst reported that while the Brooklyn Nets have received calls on Durant, teams aren’t willing to fork over the huge asking price to get him. A deal for Durant may get dragged out over the summer and potentially into training camp because the Nets aren’t willing to compromise on their asking price. If that’s the case, then it could be a while before we see teams like the Jazz make additional moves to improve their roster as everyone around the league waits to see what Brooklyn does with both Durant and Kyrie Irving. For now, though, at least Utah doesn’t have to worry about its star requesting a trade.