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

As a basic 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, wherever 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 staff and beloved teammates, the sort of guys that deliver good vibes to the follow facility and develop into fan favorites.

Almost each workforce is obsessive about drafting and growing effectively, although, partly 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 might probably flip into All-Stars in the future.

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 taking pictures splits. These numbers don’t recommend future stardom, nor do they recommend that he needs to 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 keen 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 circumstance. 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 very younger and high-energy, high-ceiling energy ahead, however Quentin Grimes is a serious sticking level at this level.”

If your tackle this info is an incredulous, “Sure, this man with a 14.9 p.c utilization price is why the Knicks have not traded for Mitchell, no matter you say,” then you definately 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 picks, identical to Grimes — was “just about untouchable.”

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

Beaubois had an encouraging rookie yr, 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 remaining season with the Mavericks, Beaubois has been enjoying in Europe. I used to be a giant 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 along with his then-agent, Leon Rose, who’s now New York’s workforce president. The Knicks and Nuggets had been speaking for the reason that earlier summer season, however this was totally different: Anthony watched the 2 sides haggling over picks and gamers. One of them was rookie heart Timofey Mozgov, who weeks earlier had scored 23 factors and grabbed 14 rebounds in a win in opposition to a dysfunctional Detroit Pistons workforce, prompting followers at Madison Square Garden to chant his title down the stretch.

Mozgov had appeared in 34 NBA video games and was averaging 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 ultimately relented, however they managed to hold onto rookie wing Landry Fields.

With the data that Mozgov would prime out as a strong position participant and a mysterious nerve damage would derail Fields’ enjoying profession, these negotiations appear foolish. Years from now, it might sound equally foolish that New York and Utah, two logical companions for this explicit blockbuster, have been hung up on a man for whom appeared glorious at summer season league counts as maybe his greatest 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 selections and performed bodily perimeter protection. He constructed on the inspiration 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 yr at Kansas. Fans wished him to play extra and hoped to see extra of these flashes. In this respect, summer season league was every little thing that they had imagined after which some.

As a shooter, Grimes was a menace in every single place he went, keen 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 heart 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 secure floor as soon as he went abroad. The model during which Grimes performed, although, means that he is the kind of participant each workforce 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 alternate for a man who has dominated playoff video games. He’s proven simply sufficient upside, although, that each they and the Knicks moderately 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, they usually ended up getting Harden the following yr, with Maxey in the midst of a breakout.

New York has been ready years to accumulate a star like Mitchell, but it surely makes sense that it is not giving up Grimes with out a combat. Would it make sense for Grimes to be the purpose that the Knicks do not get Mitchell? Maybe not, however that is not the way in which to have 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 various first-round picks, however most of them have been protected somewhat than unprotected,” Jones mentioned. The Jazz worth the Knicks’ personal unprotected picks greater than protected firsts from different groups.

In different phrases, if New York is keen to commerce all of the picks that Utah desires, then it could possibly most likely 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 an alternative. The Knicks aren’t precisely weighing what Grimes could be in opposition to what Mitchell already is; they’re weighing what he could be in opposition to what it might price to maintain him out of the deal.

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