The Indiana Pacers could possibly be involved in a blockbuster trade sooner than later, but the franchise should also keep a close eye on another brewing storm in the trade market, one that they should actually hope does not transpire in any way, shape, or form.
Donovan Mitchell, a common customer in the rumor mill recently, could very well find himself out of the Utah Jazz in the near future. After striking the domino early with the Rudy Gobert trade that saw them garner a slew of draft capital in return, they may be keen to go full throttle and commence a rebuild by cutting ties with their All-Star guard.
Why the Indiana Pacers should root against a Donovan Mitchell trade
While the Gobert trade definitely sent the Utah Jazz a tier or two down the pecking order in the Western Conference, they are still a playoff threat by virtue of having Mitchell, alongside their above-average veteran cogs. Hence, they could still viably opt to just retool and remain a competitive bunch.
However, Gobert’s departure could prove to be too fatal for Utah’s defense that their offensive firepower could not simply cover up for it. With no imminent moves to replace him yet, the Jazz are now expected to move the needle on the Mitchell front despite initially keeping him off-limits.
If the Jazz do trade Mitchell, regardless of whoever acquires him, they will instantly bottom out in the standings even before completing a full fire sale. This gives the Indiana Pacers another strong competitor in the tank department, one that is already flocked by projected cellar dwellers in San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Detroit, and Houston.
Of those teams, only the Pacers, Spurs, and Thunder are solid bets to sink more definitively. However, in case of a Mitchell trade, the Jazz will surely crescendo into the nadir of the association. And with the 2023 NBA Draft class anticipated as an extraordinarily talented one, having another key player will dent Indiana’s chances at a top pick, even if only a tad.
Therefore, while this could be a bit of an overreaction, to optimize their chances, the Indiana Pacers should hope that Donovan Mitchell remains in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, the team can do nothing but the wishing part.