The Toronto Raptors have been making their desire to acquire Kevin Durant well and truly known over the last few months, but they also need to keep one eye firmly fixed on Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell. A deterioration of relations could mean yet another seismic trade.
Mitchell will likely have a less dramatic return than what the Nets could get for Durant, but there’s no doubt that he could have a similarly massive impact on a ballclub. Fresh off averaging 25.9 points a game, a tandem of Mitchell and Pascal Siakam would be mouth-watering for Toronto.
The Raptors should make the Jazz an offer that sets them up well for the future and enables them to dip into rebuild mode without selling their soul to acquire Mitchell. If these two warring desires can converge, a deal that stuns the rest of the NBA world could be struck.
Mitchell has been targeted by teams like the Knicks for as long as there have been rumors about his next destination. Giving up OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. might be too steep of a package for the Raptors to cross, but Bleacher Report’s latest trade offer might get a deal done.
Will the Raptors end up trading for Donovan Mitchell?
Losing Achiuwa, who is coming into his own as an amazing defender and improving shooter, will be a tough pill to swallow. However, with the alternative being a player like OG Anunoby, packaging Precious with Trent, who could opt out of his contract after this season, will help Utah field a competitive team.
While Utah is reportedly prioritizing draft picks over players who can help them win now, getting two prized young names like Achiuwa and Trent in addition to those picks will fit in with Ainge’s timeline. Maybe they’ll be able to get Birch on track while giving Toronto a path towards minutes for Christian Koloko.
Adding Mitchell would give the Raptors a starting lineup that features Anunoby, who averaged 17 points per game last year and has improved every season in which he’s been in the NBA, as arguably the weakest offensive option. With enough draft capital left to build a winner and Mitchell in tow, Toronto would instantly become a contender.
The Raptors need to keep Danny Ainge, always willing to trade players to draft picks, on the line. Mitchell would be an impact player who could vault Toronto up a tier in the NBA hierarchy.