As the New York Knicks continue to negotiate with the Utah Jazz over a potential Donovan Mitchell trade, it’s hard not to wonder what might have happened if Phil Jackson had called in the star shooting guard in the first place.
Revisionist history always generates judgment, either good or bad, but in this case there is real reason to be puzzled by Jackson’s decision. That’s not to say Frank Ntilikina was a bust – he’s a reliable defender off the bench, but with the 8th pick in the 2017 NBA Draftit’s hard to be happy with the way things have turned out.
Maybe that’s the reason ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith decided to eviscerate the 11-time champion head coach on an August 18 episode of First Take — when he blamed Jackson for missing out on Mitchell.
“Donovan Mitchell is a star. I will never give Phil Jackson high praise again for giving up that brother to draft Frank Ntilikina. Any trace of credibility Phil Jackson has ever had – despite being an 11-time champion – has gone out the window with me. I believe Phil Jackson should be banned from the New York City Limits after what he did with that pick.” said Smith.
Unfortunately, Mitchell was eventually drafted by Jazz, and now both franchises are locked in trade talks and neither team seems close to a reasonable offer.
Jazz’s original price was absurd
On one occasion, Rudy Gobert was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for an absolute haul of draft picksit was clear that the Jazz would go into rebuild mode and try to create a treasure trove of assets.
Still, it’s hard to imagine anyone imagining what Utah’s original price for Mitchell would be. Fortunately, an Aug. 20 report by Marc Berman of the New York Post shed some light.
“According to multiple industry sources, the Knicks were put off by initial demands from Utah team president Danny Ainge when he asked for a package in July seven first-round picks and players. Talks died, but there’s been renewed back-and-forth recently. According to sources, the Knicks’ main concern is giving away too many future assets, which could leave them stuck in an area well below the championship contender. Berman wrote in his article.
Of course, Utah is simply trying to start negotiations from a position of strength, and there’s almost no chance that the final agreement between the two sides — should one be reached — will involve such a significant amount of draft picks.
The Knicks are unlikely to trade with Barrett
Despite New York’s eagerness to acquire Mitchell, there’s a strong possibility that RJ Barrett will be kept out of negotiations – partly because of his current contract situation and partly because of the franchise’s investment in his continued development.
Speaking on condition of anonymity with Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney, an Eastern Conference GM opened up about Barrett’s contract situation and why it might be a deterrent to potentially interested teams.
“RJ is expandable. It’s a difficult position. He may want maximum money or something close to it. He won’t get it. It’s a difficult negotiation for the Knicks because they have to find $30 million a year for a guy who’s a very good scorer and has potential, but hasn’t shown that he’s really an elite player. There is interest in RJ, but nobody wants to trade for him and then negotiate with him. Let the Knicks do it,” the executive told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney.
Of course, if the Knicks and Jazz decide to keep Barrett out of trade negotiations, that could mean Obi Topping and Quentin Grimes are the top two young players to be added to a potential deal — and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
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https://heavy.com/sports/new-york-knicks/stephen-a-smith-slams-knicks-phil-jackson/ Stephen A Smith slams Phil Jackson for Knicks-Donovan Mitchell mistake