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Far-Fetched Friday: The Utah Jazz Should Trade Donovan Mitchell
By: Ryan Stein
Welcome back to Far-Fetched Friday, where every Friday we give you a bold prediction that we believe will come to fruition. This Friday, our prediction concerns an NBA franchise that is either on the brink of contention or explosion.
Before the NBA season was suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Utah Jazz were sitting pretty in the Western Conference standings, occupying the 4th seed while being only a few games behind the number two team in the conference. Things were going smoothly for the Jazz: their stars, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, were having terrific seasons, and they had a solid supporting cast around their cornerstones. However, following Gobert's reckless behavior around the team in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic (a virus that he coincidentally ended up having), trust has been lost of him for some Jazz players, namely Mitchell.
And while that beef supposedly has been worked out, we can't truly know how each party feels behind closed doors. If the relationship between the two stars is dire, common logic would dictate that one would get traded, likely Gobert since he is the one who is the cause of the issues.
That being said, Utah would be better off trading their Mitchell instead of their 2-time Defensive Player of the Year.
The logic behind trading Mitchell is simple; he will have much more value on the open market than Gobert would. Rudy's trade value is lower than it normally would be due to his hijinks, and big men who can't shoot and can't defend out on the perimeter become much less valuable once the playoffs start. A team would need four shooters on the floor alongside Gobert for him to be useful on offense, and if you're shelling out significant assets for a star as restrictive as Gobert, you're unlikely to get equal or better return on your investment.
Mitchell, meanwhile, has seen his trade value rise this season, as he had been playing better than he ever had before. He's one of the best young scorers in the league, but he's also due for a max contract after next season. Trading away Mitchell would net a star or great young piece in return, and could potentially set up the Jazz for more financial flexibility in the future. Maybe the Grizzlies decide they want to accelerate their roster's progress by inserting Donovan next to Ja Morant. A deal centered around Jaren Jackson Jr. or Brandan Clarke and more would be a solid starting point for Utah to explore. Perhaps the New Orleans Pelicans feel Mitchell and Zion Williamson are a championship-quality duo, and are willing to part with pieces like Jrue Holiday and Jaxson Hayes to get the deal done.
The point is that there are options out there, and they sound a lot more appealing than any possible deals involving Rudy Gobert (the idea of swapping him for Draymond Green is not making anyone in Utah swoon.) While I believe that ultimately the Utah Jazz will not opt to trade either of their resident stars, if they decide they do want to make a move, it should involve Donovan Mitchell.
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