The Quentin Grimes dilemma: Knicks’ promising wing makes trading for Donovan Mitchell tricky

As a normal rule, NBA groups are hesitant to commerce younger, homegrown expertise. This is especially true if mentioned expertise was undervalued by the remainder of the league. When executives discover gems late within the first spherical, anyplace within the second or on the scrap heap, they get connected. These gamers’ successes mirror effectively on their groups’ scouting and improvement packages. Often they’re diligent employees and beloved teammates, the sort of guys that convey good vibes to the follow facility and turn out to be fan favorites.

Almost each crew is obsessive about drafting and creating effectively, although, partially as a result of this lets you commerce for stars. Typically, when a participant like Donovan Mitchell is on the commerce market, he is not going to be swapped for one other multi-time All-Star at an analogous stage of his profession. He’ll be swapped for draft picks and youthful, cheaper gamers who may doubtlessly flip into All-Stars sooner or later.

Enter 22-year-old Quentin Grimes. He’s a 6-foot-4 wing with a 6-8 wingspan, and the New York Knicks chosen him No. 25 within the 2021 draft. He averaged six factors, two boards and one help in 17 minutes as a rookie, with 40-38-68 capturing splits. These numbers don’t recommend future stardom, nor do they recommend that he must be off-limits in commerce talks. And but the Knicks have reportedly taken a agency stance when negotiating with the Utah Jazz: Grimes is off limits.

In an interview with ESPN 700, The Athletic’s Tony Jones mentioned that New York is prepared to half with 24-year-old massive Obi Toppin in a Mitchell deal, however Utah desires Grimes:

“The one participant that [the Knicks] try to not put within the deal is Quentin Grimes. They don’t desire Quentin Grimes within the deal beneath any circumstances. And the no. 1 participant that the Jazz need within the deal is Quentin Grimes. And I get the sense that the Jazz are actually hesitant to do a deal that does not have Quentin Grimes in it. I can let you know that the Knicks are amenable to giving the Jazz Obi Toppin, who’s a extremely younger and high-energy, high-ceiling energy ahead, however Quentin Grimes is a serious sticking level at this level.”

If your tackle this data is an incredulous, “Sure, this man with a 14.9 p.c utilization charge is why the Knicks have not traded for Mitchell, no matter you say,” you then would possibly wish to punctuate it with a Rodrigue Beaubois reference. In February 2010, main as much as the commerce deadline, Dallas Mavericks proprietor Mark Cuban mentioned {that a} rookie Beaubois — the No. 25 choose, similar to Grimes — was “just about untouchable.”

“There’s perhaps one or two guys within the league that I might commerce him for,” Cuban mentioned. “That’s it.”

Beaubois had an encouraging rookie 12 months, together with a 40-point sport in March, however his progress stalled when he broke his foot the next summer season. He wanted one other surgical procedure on the identical foot after his second season, and since breaking his hand in 2013, his fourth and ultimate season with the Mavericks, Beaubois has been enjoying in Europe. I used to be an enormous Beaubois man, however I admit he ought to by no means have been untouchable.

At All-Star weekend in 2011, the Knicks had a late-night assembly with the Denver Nuggets to barter a Carmelo Anthony commerce. Anthony himself was within the assembly, alongside together with his then-agent, Leon Rose, who’s now New York’s crew president. The Knicks and Nuggets had been speaking because the earlier summer season, however this was totally different: Anthony watched the 2 sides haggling over picks and gamers. One of them was rookie middle Timofey Mozgov, who weeks earlier had scored 23 factors and grabbed 14 rebounds in a win in opposition to a dysfunctional Detroit Pistons crew, prompting followers at Madison Square Garden to chant his title down the stretch.

Mozgov appeared in 34 NBA video games and averaged 4.0 factors, 3.1 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 13.5 minutes. Aside from that Pistons sport, he had solely scored in double figures as soon as. But the Nuggets contingent, led by then-GM Masai Ujiri, insisted on getting him. “We need Mozgov, that was the deal,” Anthony recalled on ESPN’s “The Woj Pod,” laughing. “Timofey Mozgov. Mozgov was the dealbreaker within the New York commerce.” The Knicks finally relented, however they managed to hold onto rookie wing Landry Fields.

With the information that Mozgov would prime out as a stable function participant and a mysterious nerve harm would derail Fields’ enjoying profession, these negotiations appear foolish. Years from now, it may appear equally foolish that New York and Utah, two logical companions for this specific blockbuster, had been hung up on a man for whom seemed wonderful at summer season league counts as maybe his largest skilled accomplishment.

Counterpoint: Did you see Grimes at summer season league?

Grimes was primarily a 3-and-D man in his first season with the Knicks, a dependable wing who knocked down open jumpers, made good choices and performed bodily perimeter protection. He constructed on the muse he’d established in his two seasons at Houston, and there have been flashes of the off-the-dribble playmaking that outlined his sport earlier than his tough freshman 12 months at Kansas. Fans needed him to play extra and hoped to see extra of these flashes. In this respect, summer season league was all the pieces they’d imagined after which some.

As a shooter, Grimes was a risk all over the place he went, prepared to fireplace away from deep, off motion, in transition and off the dribble:

With the ball in his arms, he was simply as assertive. Grimes attacked closeouts, and he additionally made performs out of pick-and-rolls and dribble-handoffs. He went at bigs who switched onto him, and he spoonfed middle Jericho Sims with a number of slick passes.

Standing out at summer season league doesn’t assure something. Just ask Beaubois or Anthony Randolph, one other participant deemed untouchable within the NBA who solely discovered steady floor as soon as he went abroad. The type during which Grimes performed, although, means that he is the kind of participant each crew desires. At worst, he’ll complement star gamers effectively and take nothing off the desk. At greatest, he is primed for a Desmond Bane-esque leap in his second season.

That he is undersized and unproven permits the Jazz to demand Grimes and a number of first-round picks in change for a man who has dominated playoff video games. He’s proven simply sufficient upside, although, that each they and the Knicks fairly wish to see how his sport grows. Sometimes, groups are vindicated for valuing their younger guys extremely — the Philadelphia 76ers reportedly refused to supply a rookie Tyrese Maxey to the Houston Rockets in James Harden packages in 2021, and so they ended up getting Harden the following 12 months, with Maxey in the course of a breakout.

New York has been ready years to accumulate a star like Mitchell, nevertheless it makes sense that it is not giving up Grimes and not using a battle. Would it make sense for Grimes to be the purpose that the Knicks do not get Mitchell? Maybe not, however that is not the best way to take a look at it, anyway. In that interview on ESPN 700, Jones reported that Grimes wasn’t the one sticking level. New York’s greatest provide “contained numerous first-round picks, however most of them had been protected fairly than unprotected,” Jones mentioned. The Jazz worth the Knicks’ personal unprotected picks greater than protected picks from different groups.

In different phrases, if New York is prepared to commerce all of the picks that Utah desires, then it may in all probability preserve Grimes and get Mitchell. Earlier this offseason, Jazz president Danny Ainge “pushed exhausting” to get Jaden McDaniels from the Minnesota Timberwolves in a Rudy Gobert deal, per The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski and Jones. When the Wolves held their floor on McDaniels, Utah requested for extra picks as a substitute. The Knicks aren’t precisely weighing what Grimes is likely to be in opposition to what Mitchell already is; they’re weighing what he is likely to be in opposition to what it could price to maintain him out of the deal.

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