Danny Ainge Up To Old Tricks While Seeking Theft For Donovan Mitchell?

Ainge reportedly is seeking seven or eight first-rounders


July 20

One of the biggest strikes against Danny Ainge when he was with the Boston Celtics was the then-president of basketball operations reportedly would take it a step too far in trade talks.

Sure, sometimes it benefitted the Celtics — remember their trade of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce? — but there also were times when trade reports dried up because of what seemed like Ainge’s strong-armed pursuit.

“They’ll only do something if they think they’re going to bury you,” one Western Conference executive told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps of Ainge’s then-Celtics last March.

And never mind the reports citing how Ainge’s dealing of depreciating assets — Isaiah Thomas, a Kemba Walker trade attempt, etc. — didn’t sit well with rival general managers.

Well, it appears Ainge now is up to his old tricks as he attempts to trade Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell. He reportedly is seeking a theft for the 25-year-old three-time NBA All-Star.

“My intel has been that the Knicks are trying to do this only surrendering four or five firsts,” well-known NBA reporter Marc Stein said recently during the “Stein Line Live,” as transcribed by Bleacher Report.

“But someone I trust told me today that they think that Danny (Ainge) was going for seven of the eight firsts.”

Seven or eight first-round picks?!

… for Donovan Mitchell?!

It certainly sounds like an attempted burial.

The Knicks reportedly were the frontrunner to land Mitchell last week, but it’s fair to think that drastic of a price tag could cause New York to reconsider its interest.

Ainge did recently trade Jazz big man Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a deal that netted Utah four first-rounders and an additional pick swap. Mitchell’s trade return could (and probably should) net more than Gobert’s, but there’s a considerable difference between the two packages, as currently listed.

It’ll be interesting to see how it shakes out considering it certainly feels like Mitchell’s days in Utah are numbered.

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