Welp….Donovan Got Traded

Well, that was a long two months. If you don’t feel like Frodo finally being rid of the ring to only look upon the path down mount doom, I don’t know where you are. But the eagles can come at any moment right. This needed to happen though. Don was running out of New York things to attend and sacrificing Labor Day weekend to let Leon Rose dip out of a trade when your close to low ball you again probably wasn’t worth it. So here we are, the two mainstays of the Jazz for the past 5 years are gone. Was it a good trade though? I mean every Knicks fan thinks the Jazz took a lesser offer, so did we?

For reference this was the Rudy Gobert trade (post Pat Beverley trade): Malik Beasley, Talen Horton Tucker, Stanley Johnson, Leandro Bolmero, Jarred Vanderbilt, 2022 FRP #22 Walker Kessler, 2023 FRP, 2025 FRP, 2027 FRP, 2029 FRP Top 5 Protected, 2026 pick swap. The technicality is that there are 5 first round picks because of Walker Kessler and a top 5 isn’t guaranteed unless the team is last in the league. Obviously a good haul for the Jazz, one that sent the Brooklyn Nets into a tail spin to figure out if they could actually trade Kevin Durant, and convinced the Knicks that Jazz were rebuilding and they had leverage in any offer the Jazz brought to the table. You know what, both these are fair. But one was just wrong.

Thus, we now get to bring up the Donovan Mitchell trade: Collin Sexton (described as Don Lite which I’ll get to), Lauri Markkanen, 2022 FRP #14 Ochai Agbaji, 2025 FRP, 2027 FRP, 2029 FRP, and 2026 & 2028 pick swaps. Which is a technicality of four first round picks plus a different swap than the Rudy trade. But, what did the Jazz front office say they wanted throughout the entire process? Picks and young players. Do Sexton and Markkanen outweigh THT, Johnson, Bolmero, and Vanderbilt? Yeah, I would say so. You’re basically asking do Sexton and Markkannen outweigh Vanderbilt. Then yes, the difference of a pick makes sense. It also balances a bit more since Gobert is a top 15 player and Don is a top 25, but Gobert is in his 30s and Don is 25.

But is the Don trade with the Cavs better than what the Knickerbockers could offer?: The best option was probably RJ Barrett, Grimes, and 2 unprotected FRPs, plus an unprotected pick, and some sort of pick swaps. If that’s it then I would say that the Cavs offer is far better. Personally, I’m on the lower end of RJ’s value in the league. Which isn’t saying much considering how polarizing he is. Please just go read Seth Partnow on why RJ is polarizing. I think he’ll be an all-star depending on which conference he’s in, but I don’t think he’ll climb too far up the ladder. He was put at a disadvantage when he was dubbed the Maple Mamba and then had to watch as Zion became a better player than him at Duke. But what really created a mess, was that he had to become the second-best player on a team at college. This, when he hadn’t been a second-best player his entire life. I don’t think he’s ever escaped that mentality. Shoot, has he been the best player for the Knicks? Rookie season was a wash on a bad team that ended in COVID, second season Randle got 2nd team All-NBA so no, third season I’d say probably but they didn’t make the playoffs so does it matter. To compare, Donovan Mitchell made the playoffs every year he played on the Jazz and was the top scorer during the playoffs every year. Then add three all-stars and a bunch of other stuff and the gap between the two becomes that much larger. Thus, the option for the Jazz was to take RJ at 25 to 30M plus Quickley and two FRPs plus a FRP with top 5 protection (here it makes a difference) and whatever else.

Yes, the Jazz got a much better deal with the Cavs than they could’ve with the Knicks. If RJ wouldn’t be the number one guy, then who would? And that’s how we arrive at Collin Sexton. The guy who tweeted "Utah what’s good!!!!!!!" (Sorry if I messed up the number of exclamation marks). The guy who almost willed a team 3 on 5 with no subs to a win in college. That was nuts. To be called Donovan Mitchell lite after the guy willed a team like that and plays defense that doesn’t resemble a turnstile is rough. Collin Sexton never gave up on his team when there was only two other people left. I know he's not Don but at least it gives us someone to ride or die with and not have any expectations. Don did after 3 years of asking to be traded, throwing Rudy under the bus, and getting bounced by the Clippers in the playoffs. I appreciate Don for the activism and the good times. It made Utah a better place. Honestly, he’s in a better situation on the Cavs than he would’ve been on the Knicks. Hopefully that matters to him.

So now what? The obvious answer feels like the Westbrook plus two FRPs for the Jazz vets. Who that is I don’t know. But Conley, Bogdanovic, and Clarkson deserve a good team to play on. And now we get to watch a bunch of young guys who want to have fun. Which after the last year of Jazz basketball is something I’m excited about. I’m excited that I’m out of state and get 78 Jazz games on League Pass and it’s just a bunch of dudes who want to have fun without caring if they win. I’m excited to see NAW, Butler, and Doke get minutes. The start of the season is going to be brutal. But who cares.

What do you think? Are you happy with the moves? Or do you think a different path was feasible?

All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.