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

As a basic guideline, NBA groups are reluctant to trade young, homegrown skill. This is especially real if stated skill was underestimated by the remainder of the league. When executives discover gems late in the preliminary, throughout the 2nd or on the scrap stack, they get connected. These gamers’ successes show well on their groups’ hunting and advancement programs. Often they are persistent employees and precious colleagues, the type of people that bring great vibes to the practice center and end up being fan favorites. 

Almost every group is consumed with preparing and establishing well, however, in part since this permits you to trade for stars. Typically, when a gamer like Donovan Mitchell is on the trade market, he will not be switched for another multi-time All-Star at a comparable phase of his profession. He’ll be switched for draft choices and more youthful, less expensive gamers who might possibly become All-Stars one day.

Enter 22-year-old Quentin Grimes. He’s a 6-foot-4 wing with a 6-8 wingspan, and the New York Knicks picked him No. 25 in the 2021 draft. He balanced 6 points, 2 boards and one help in 17 minutes as a novice, with 40-38-68 shooting divides. These numbers do not recommend future fame, nor do they recommend that he needs to be off-limits in trade talks. And yet the Knicks have actually supposedly taken a company position when working out with the Utah Jazz: Grimes is off limitations.  

In an interview with ESPN 700, The Athletic’s Tony Jones stated that New York wants to part with 24-year-old huge Obi Toppin in a Mitchell offer, however Utah desires Grimes: 

“The one player that [the Knicks] are trying not to put in the deal is Quentin Grimes. They don’t want Quentin Grimes in the deal under any circumstance. And the No. 1 player that the Jazz want in the deal is Quentin Grimes. And I get the sense that the Jazz are really hesitant to do a deal that doesn’t have Quentin Grimes in it. I can tell you that the Knicks are amenable to giving the Jazz Obi Toppin, who’s a really young and high-energy, high-ceiling power forward, but Quentin Grimes is a major sticking point at this point.”

If your handle this info is an incredulous, “Sure, this guy with a 14.9 percent usage rate is why the Knicks haven’t traded for Mitchell, whatever you say,” then you may wish to stress it with a Rodrigue Beaubois recommendation. In February 2010, leading up to the trade due date, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stated that a novice Beaubois — the No. 25 choice, much like Grimes — was “pretty much untouchable.” 

“There’s maybe one or two guys in the league that I would trade him for,” Cuban stated. “That’s it.”

Beaubois had a motivating novice year, consisting of a 40-point video game in March, however his development stalled when he broke his foot the following summertime. He required another surgical treatment on the exact same foot after his 2nd season, and, because breaking his hand in 2013, his 4th and last season with the Mavericks, Beaubois has actually been playing in Europe. I was a huge Beaubois person, however I confess he needs to never ever have actually been untouchable. 

At All-Star weekend in 2011, the Knicks had a late-night conference with the Denver Nuggets to work out a Carmelo Anthony trade. Anthony himself remained in the conference, together with his then-agent, Leon Rose, who is now New York’s group president. The Knicks and Nuggets had actually been talking because the previous summertime, however this was various: Anthony enjoyed the 2 sides bargaining over choices and gamers. One of them was novice center Timofey Mozgov, who weeks previously had actually scored 23 points and got 14 rebounds in a win versus an inefficient Detroit Pistons group, triggering fans at Madison Square Garden to shout his name down the stretch. 

Mozgov had actually appeared in 34 NBA video games and was balancing 4.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 13.5 minutes. Aside from that Pistons video game, he had actually just scored in double figures when. But the Nuggets contingent, led by then-GM Masai Ujiri, demanded getting him. “We want Mozgov, that was the deal,” Anthony remembered on ESPN’s “The Woj Pod,” laughing. “Timofey Mozgov. Mozgov was the dealbreaker in the New York trade.” The Knicks ultimately relented, however they handled to hang onto novice wing Landry Fields. 

With the understanding that Mozgov would peak as a strong function gamer and a strange nerve injury would hinder Fields’ playing profession, those settlements appear silly. Years from now, it may appear similarly ridiculous that New York and Utah, 2 sensible partners for this specific smash hit, were hung up on a person for whom looked exceptional at summertime league counts as maybe his most significant expert achievement.

Counterpoint: Did you see Grimes at summertime league?

Grimes was mainly a 3-and-D person in his very first season with the Knicks, a dependable wing who tore down open jumpers, made great choices and played physical boundary defense. He constructed on the structure he had actually developed in his 2 seasons at Houston, and there were flashes of the off-the-dribble playmaking that specified his video game prior to his rough freshman year at Kansas. Fans desired him to play more and intended to see more of those flashes. In this regard, summertime league was whatever they had actually envisioned and after that some. 

As a shooter, Grimes was a hazard all over he went, going to fire far from deep, off motion, in shift and off the dribble: 

With the ball in his hands, he was simply as assertive. Grimes assaulted closeouts, and he likewise made plays out of pick-and-rolls and dribble-handoffs. He addressed bigs who changed onto him, and he spoonfed center Jericho Sims with numerous slick passes. 

Standing out at summertime league does not ensure anything. Just ask Beaubois or Anthony Randolph, another gamer considered untouchable in the NBA who just discovered steady ground when he went overseas. The design in which Grimes played, however, recommends that he’s the kind of gamer every group desires. At worst, he’ll match star gamers well and take absolutely nothing off the table. At best, he’s primed for a Desmond Bane-esque leap in his 2nd season. 

That he’s undersized and unverified permits the Jazz to require Grimes and several first-round choices in exchange for a person who has actually controlled championship game. He’s revealed simply enough upside, however, that both they and the Knicks fairly wish to see how his video game grows. Sometimes, groups are vindicated for valuing their young people extremely — the Philadelphia 76ers supposedly declined to provide a novice Tyrese Maxey to the Houston Rockets in James Harden bundles in 2021, and they wound up getting Harden the next year, with Maxey in the middle of a breakout. 

New York has actually been waiting years to obtain a star like Mitchell, however it makes good sense that it isn’t quiting Grimes without a battle. Would it make good sense for Grimes to be the factor that the Knicks do not get Mitchell? Maybe not, however that’s not the method to take a look at it, anyhow. In that interview on ESPN 700, Jones reported that Grimes wasn’t the only sticking point. New York’s finest deal “contained a number of first-round picks, but most of them were protected rather than unprotected,” Jones stated. The Jazz worth the Knicks’ own unguarded choices more than safeguarded firsts from other groups.

In other words, if New York wants to trade all the choices that Utah desires, then it can most likely keep Grimes and get Mitchell. Earlier this offseason, Jazz president Danny Ainge “pushed hard” to get Jaden McDaniels from the Minnesota Timberwolves in a Rudy Gobert offer, per The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski and Jones. When the Wolves held their ground on McDaniels, Utah requested more choices rather. The Knicks aren’t precisely weighing what Grimes may be versus what Mitchell currently is; they’re weighing what he may be versus what it would cost to keep him out of the offer.

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