The 1-2 punch of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert is nearing its conclusion. Despite the immense talent between the two All-Stars, the Utah Jazz has been unable to make it work.
Since Mitchell and Gobert joined forces in 2017, the Jazz has only made it to the Western Conference Semifinals twice and lost both times. To make matters worse, the two players have had a strained relationship in recent years. Trade rumors involving one or both players have become common lately, but now there seems to be real traction as there are reports indicating that Mitchell is interested in going to either the Miami Heat or Atlanta Hawks in a trade.
Mitchell is only 25 years old and in the prime of his career. The All-Star guard averaged 25.9 points, 5.3 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game during the 2021-22 season. However, there are three causes for concern when teams explore the idea of trading for Mitchell.
The first issue is his size. Mitchell is 6'1", 215 pounds. If the Hawks were to pair Mitchell with point guard Trae Young, both players in their starting backcourt would be just 6'1".
The second issue is Mitchell's defense. Everyone knows that Young struggles on that end of the floor, and the Hawks need to add perimeter defense, not make it worse. FiveThirtyEight's RAPTOR system gives Mitchell a -2.8 overall defensive rating which is subpar.
Lastly, Mitchell is on an expensive contract. He just finished his first season of a 5-year, $163 million contract with an average annual salary of $32.6 million. The Hawks are already flirting with the luxury tax and would have to trade several key players to make it work financially.
However, fans should not be pessimistic about the chances of an All-Star backcourt. Last week, Hawks owner Tony Ressler said he was not scared of paying the luxury tax, and the general manager Travis Schlenk hinted at roster turnover.
Even better, The Athletic recently reported the Jazz are interested in Hawks forward De'Andre Hunter. While Hunter is still on his rookie contract, the Hawks have plenty of other players they could package in a trade to acquire Mitchell. In fact, the Hawks roster is built for a consolidation trade such as this one.
The trade talks will only heat up with the 2022 NBA Draft taking place next month. Stay locked into AllHawks.com for breaking news, highlights, and analysis.
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