Donovan Mitchell will not be traded to the New York Knicks despite reports that he is not in speaking terms with teammate Rudy Gobert.
Rumors of the rift between the two Utah Jazz stars have been swirling since Gobert was tested positive for COVID-19 in March — the first NBA player confirmed to have contracted the virus. Mitchell, who later tested positive, was reportedly angry at his teammate’s careless behavior before finding out he is infected.
A report from The Athletic further noted the relationship “doesn’t appear salvageable” and that Mitchell is “reluctant to fix what might have been broken.” This has led to reports the Rookie of the Year runner up is moving on and one team looking to take advantage of this is the Knicks.
The team has been a bottom dweller for close to a decade. The last time the Knicks entered the NBA playoffs was in 2013, with Carmelo Anthony. Ever since then, the team has had six head coaches and no ray of sunshine. It currently stands at 21-45, good for the 12th spot in the East. Getting someone like Mitchell will definitely be a big step towards rebuilding and being a playoff contender.
However, there’s a very slim chance the first-time All Star would move to New York. For one, there are no indications Mitchell even wants to leave Utah despite the reported rift between him and Gobert. He also won’t be a restricted free agent until next offseason.
Should the NBA gods decide it’s time for the 13th overall pick of 2017 to revive the Big Apple, it will come at a steep price for the Knicks — possible several first round picks and at least Julius Randle and RJ Barrett.
Amid all the talk, Gobert revealed he and Mitchell’s relationship is “great.” He also downplayed the apparent friction between them.
“It’s true that we didn’t speak for a while after this, but we spoke a few days ago,” Gobert said in an Instagram Live session on Sunday.
He added that while their relationship is “far from perfect,” they’re both determined to reach one goal — an NBA championship.
“At the end of the day, we both want the same thing — and it’s winning. We’re both grown men, and we both are going to do what it takes to win.”
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