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Reports: Knicks back away from first Mitchell trade idea from Jazz, talks could last “weeks”

Indiana Pacers v Utah Jazz

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - APRIL 16: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz looks on during a game against the Indiana Pacers at Vivint Smart Home Arena on April 16, 2021 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

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Donovan Mitchell may end up a New York Knick, but don’t expect it to happen quickly.

New York remains the most aggressive team in going after Mitchell. It can offer what CEO Danny Ainge and Utah really want in a trade — draft picks — but the Knicks are being careful not to bid against themselves, Tony Jones at The Athletic said on ESPN 700. He said the Knicks backed away from the Jazz’s first request — six first-round picks (here’s the quote, hat tip Clutch Points).

“The two teams have had substantial talks, they’ve had ongoing talks. There was a feeling that things were a little bit close as late as Tuesday night, but the Knicks, according to my sources, kinda backed away. I have some sources that are telling me that Danny Ainge is asking for everything but the Statue of Liberty. I had a really good source tell me that the Jazz asked for at least six of New York’s eight tradeable first-round picks and all of New York’s high-impact young guys. So that will be Quentin Grimes, Emmanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, Miles McBride.”

The Knicks are right to take a step back. This is just the first salvo in a long negotiation, and New York can be patient here.

Notice the one name not on that list is the best of the young Knicks, RJ Barrett. That’s because a big payday is coming up for Barrett, he is extension eligible this summer and if no deal is reached he becomes a restricted free agent summer who will get paid like a potential future All-Star. The rebuilding Jazz do not want that on their books right now; he is not on their timeline, Jones said.

The Knicks and Jazz are talking, with the Heat and other teams lurking and looking to get in on the trade. Utah wants to deal with the Knicks and wants the picks, but this process is likely going to take weeks, something The Athletic’s Shams Charania said on NBA TV.

All the NBA summer blockbuster trades still on the table — Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Mitchell — are dragging out and likely will play out for a few more weeks. At least.

Of the three, the Donovan Mitchell to the Knicks seems to have the most momentum — both New York and Utah want to see this deal get done, the only question is the price. It just may take some time to hammer that out.