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The case for trading Donovan Mitchell before training camp

With the Jazz clearly in rebuild mode, trading him before the season starts would benefit both sides of the transaction, and for a number or reasons.

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Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell watches the scoreboard during game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Vivint Arena.

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell watches the scoreboard during game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021. All eyes — both here in Utah and around the league — are on the All-Star guard these days.

Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News

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At this point, it seems inevitable that the Utah Jazz will trade Donovan Mitchell. The trade of Patrick Beverley to the Los Angeles Lakers was another signal that the Jazz are not in win-now mode and are trying to get younger and look toward the future.

A recent report suggested that the Jazz would rather trade Mitchell now, before the 2022-23 season begins, rather than wait and let the February trade deadline draw near. That makes a lot of sense, and here’s why:

Donovan’s future team needs him

Whether it turns out to be the New York Knicks or any other team, adding Mitchell to a roster is going to completely change a system and player usage and rotations and schemes and just about everything else you can imagine, so the team that is going to be receiving Mitchell definitely wants to have time with him to get some details ironed out.

Additionally, any team that is trading for Mitchell is a team that wants to win, and they’ll want Mitchell on the roster to increase their chances of winning. Conversely, the Jazz do not want to win. They want to increase their odds of getting a high draft pick by not racking up wins, and if Mitchell is on the roster when the season begins, they are bound to win more games than they want.

There are other deals to consider

Once the Mitchell deal is done, the Jazz aren’t going to be done dealing. The rest of the league is looking to finalize rosters, and there are other teams who could possibly be adding Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson and Malik Beasley and those deals need to get done sooner rather than later as well.

The Jazz will probably get the best value for some of these players if they are traded in the offseason, because if they are left on the Jazz roster as the trade deadline gets closer, the Jazz lose a bit of leverage.

No one wants to deal with these questions during training camp

If Mitchell is still on the Jazz roster when training camp opens, there will be nothing else talked about. He will be peppered with questions about what he wants, about what he makes of all the reports, about how he feels about the Jazz wanting to trade him. And the questions won’t stop coming.

The same can be said about newly minted coach Will Hardy as well as general manager Justin Zanik and CEO Danny Ainge. They don’t want to have to answer these questions or deal with the optics of a deal that doesn’t get done. They want these things ironed out before players report to camp. That way, everyone can focus on the future.

New with the Jazz

This week on ‘Unsalvageable’

Check out “Unsalvageable” hosted by Deseret News Utah Jazz beat reporter Sarah Todd and lifelong Jazz fan Greg Foster (no, not that Greg Foster).

This week the crew breaks down the Patrick Beverley trade while also touching on some of the news from around the league like Kevin Durant deciding to stay in Brooklyn and the season-ending injury to OKC rookie Chet Holmgren.

The podcast has moved to a new feed so remember to follow or subscribe by searching for “Unsalvageable” through your podcast provider.

New episodes come out every week. You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and anywhere else you stream podcasts.

From the archives

This week in Jazz history

On Sept. 1, 2020, the Denver Nuggets beat the Utah Jazz, 80-78, in Game 7 of a thrilling first-round series in the NBA bubble in Orlando. The series was marked by a scoring showdown between Utah’s Donovan Mitchell and Denver’s Jamal Murray, but Game 7 was decided by defense as neither team shot better than 38% in the contest.

How to pass the time in the offseason

Now that the Jazz season has come to an end, it means that I have some time to catch up on the things that I love but don’t have enough time for during the NBA season. Here I’ll suggest my latest way to pass the offseason time and also take your suggestions.

This week I’m advocating for everyone to play more games.

Board games, card games, strategy games, video games, trivia — they’re all great!

I recently taught my best friend’s son, who is 4 years old, how to play Uno and it made for an incredibly fun night. If you’re looking for some fun games for the whole family you can also play Mad Gab, Cover Your Assets, Code Names or any other number of games that are readily available. Want a more involved, more strategic game? Try Dice Forge, Argricola, or even the classics like Risk or Settlers of Catan.

Games are great and I think we should all be playing more of them.

Extra points

  • Miller family selling more of its Utah Jazz ownership stake (Deseret News)
  • Former Jazz Summer League player Tacko Fall has a new team (Deseret News)
  • How much the Jazz’s value has increased since Ryan Smith took over (Salt Lake Tribune)

Around the league

OKC rookie Chet Holmgren to miss 2022-23 NBA season with foot injury.

Minnesota’s Taurean Prince arrested in Miami.

New Orleans’ Zion Williamson preparing for return after seasonlong injury.

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell leaves the floor after Game 6 first-round playoff defeat to Dallas in Salt Lake City.

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell leaves the floor after Game 6 first-round playoff game against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, April 28, 2022, in Salt Lake City. The Mavericks defeated the Jazz 98-96 and advance to the second round.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News