UTAH JAZZ

Heat, Mavericks Playoff Results Could Impact Jazz Summer

May 26, 2022, 2:17 PM
Donovan Mitchell - Utah Jazz - Miami Heat...
Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz drives to the basket against Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat during the third quarter at American Airlines Arena on February 26, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The pending elimination of the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat could significantly impact the Utah Jazz this summer.

The Heat have been one of the few teams said to be closely monitoring the availability of Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, while the Mavericks have been one of the most common names floated when discussing a potential Rudy Gobert trade.

Both the Heat and the Mavericks have made surprising runs to the Conference Finals, but appear to be lacking a major piece of the puzzle that could truly push them into contender status.

Miami’s sudden inability to score has been exposed by the Boston Celtics who have limited the Heat to an average of 81 points in their last two losses.

The Mavericks meanwhile have struggled to slow down the Golden State Warriors attack. In the conference finals, the Mavericks’ defensive rating has dropped to 118.1, third-worst among the last four games of any team that qualified for the playoffs.

Mitchell, having averaged 25.9 points per game, which would have easily led all scores in Miami would be an ideal fit next to a bigger wing like Jimmy Butler who can also shoulder a sizeable offensive burden, and cover up defensive shortcomings.

Gobert meanwhile could operate in a similar, though glamorized version of the role being filled by Dwight Powell in Dallas. Powell is an efficient scorer due to his abilities as a lob threat at the rim but doesn’t offer the same production as Gobert offensively, nor nearly the same impact on defense.

While Gobert is already one of the league’s premier pick and roll threats, pairing him with superstar Luka Doncic would be an appealing option for the Mavericks.

On ESPN’s “Get Up” Thursday morning, radio host Alan Hahn suggested Miami Heat President Pat Riley call the Jazz to inquire about the availability of Mitchell.

“You talk about a guy that fits in the Heat culture, it’d be Donovan Mitchell,” Hahn said. “You talk about a guy that could fit with a Jimmy Butler, it’d be Donovan Mitchell. That’s the kind of player they’ve got to find.”

The difficult part for both Miami and the Mavericks is cobbling together a trade package worthy of either Jazz star, a bar both teams may struggle to reach.

The Heat have an intriguing young piece in Tyler Herro, but it seems unlikely he’ll ever reach the lofty production of Mitchell. Miami controls most of its own future first-round draft picks, but those are unlikely to be difference makers if they were to land a player of Mitchell’s talent.

While Miami could dangle Herro in any blockbuster trade, the Mavericks likely lack the type of young talent that could facilitate a trade for Gobert.

Tim Hardaway Jr., Davis Bertans, and Spencer Dinwiddie’s salaries could be mixed and matched to piece together a trade, but that’s a far cry from the best package the Jazz could get in return for a player of Gobert’s caliber.

With both Mitchell and Gobert under contract for the immediate future, the Jazz shouldn’t feel any rush to move either of their franchise faces.

However, the urgency felt by Miami and Dallas to make major moves this offseason could create a seller’s market for the Jazz before the 2022-23 season.

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