Wizards Miss Out on Desired Trade Target Donovan Mitchell
The Philadelphia 76ers might’ve placed a call to the Brooklyn Nets inquiring about their superstar forward, Kevin Durant. As we know now, talks between the Sixers and the Nets didn’t go very far, and at this point, the Durant sweepstakes are over without a trade.
The idea that the Sixers inquired about Durant made it seem like Daryl Morey, and the Philly front office were star hunting. But a lack of discussions between the Sixers and the Utah Jazz proves that the Durant situation was only an exception.
Recent reports indicated that the Jazz were looking to move their star guard Donovan Mitchell before training camp begins. A Sixers rival, the New York Knicks, were regarded as the favorite to land Mitchell as they had interest and the assets the Jazz desired.
A recent signing complicated trade discussions between the Knicks and the Jazz, as the two teams failed to get a deal done before Monday night, leading the Knicks to extend their young standout, RJ Barrett, a situation that made a Donovan Mitchell trade much harder to accomplish for the Knicks.
Mitchell became unlikely to join the Atlantic Division, but the Eastern Conference as a whole wasn’t out of the question. Not too long after the Knicks inked Barrett to an extension, the Washington Wizards were linked to Mitchell as a potential trade destination.
A Swing and a Miss?
Wizards insider Quinton Mayo reported earlier this week that the Wizards extended an offer to the Jazz. Per Mayo, the unknown offer was believed to be a strong one from the Wizards’ end, and Washington believed they were “firmly in the hunt” for Mitchell.
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Mitchell will indeed join the Eastern Conference, but he won’t be taking his talents to D.C. Instead, the Jazz sent Mitchell to a surprising suitor, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Cleveland gave up quite the haul for Mitchell. To land the All-Star, Cleveland packaged together Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, Collin Sexton, three first-round picks, and two pick swaps, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
It’s unclear how close the Wizards were to landing Mitchell if the rumors of them being in the hunt were true, but if they did have hopes of landing the star guard, it’ll be a significant swing and miss on Washington’s end.
Last season, the Wizards finished 12th in the Eastern Conference with a record of 35-47. It was a disappointing run considering they made the playoffs as the eighth seed via the Play-In Tournament one season prior.
Washington hopes to bounce back and satisfy their recently re-signed star guard, Bradley Beal. Following the Beal signing, the Wizards acquired Will Barton and Monte Morris from the Denver Nuggets.
A trade for Mitchell would’ve been a splash and a move in the right direction for the Wizards. While it might not put Washington in championship contention, it could’ve helped them achieve a spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs next season.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.