3 Donovan Mitchell trade partners that make sense, 3 that don't

Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers and Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers and Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat / Rich Storry/GettyImages
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No. 1: The Brooklyn Nets make sense

Donovan Mitchell is a New York native who has expressed that he would love to play in his hometown, so there are obvious reasons to connect him back to the two teams in New York. Of the two, the Brooklyn Nets make an awful lot of sense as a trade partner.

The Nets have been floundering this year, stocked with a collection of strong players without a star to lead the way. They also don't control their own draft for years to come, meaning their response to that floundering is more likely to be star-hunting than tearing down. Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson and Nic Claxton are a frontcourt whose skillsets fit perfectly together, but they need an on-ball star to step into the backcourt. Enter Donovan Mitchell.

The Nets have a collection of prospects, draft picks (from Phoenix and Dallas rather than their own) and matching salary to make a trade happen while still retaining the core of their team. They have a lot of reason to think Mitchell would re-sign, not only to play in New York but to team up with Bridges. If laying odds, Brooklyn should probably be the better favorite.

No. 1: The New York Knicks don't make sense

There is absolutely a case to make for the Knicks to trade for Donovan Mitchell. They are not only his hometown team but the team he rooted for growing up; they have a strong need for an on-ball creator; and finally, they retained their fat pile of draft picks in the OG Anunoby trade to use in adding an upgrade at shooting guard. Those picks and a handful of contracts make an intriguing trade package.

The problem for the Knicks in trading for Mitchell is twofold. First, it would give them an extremely small backcourt, and that's a weak spot head coach Tom Thibodeau is unlikely to go to war with. Second, Mitchell make a lot of money now and will make even more on his next contract; when you add in a pending max for Jalen Brunson, a new significant deal for Anunoby and Julius Randle's contract, you get a cap sheet likely to push well into the luxury tax and begin incurring team-building penalties.

The Knicks have had their eyes on Mitchell for a long time, and their ties to CAA only make the possibility of Mitchell coming to New York that much stronger. The hurdles are high, but it can't be ruled completely out.

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