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Knicks links with Donovan Mitchell upsetting Jazz: report

Donovan Mitchell Knicks
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) goes to the basket as Dallas Mavericks’ Reggie Bullock (25) and Dwight Powell (7) defend in the second half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Saturday, April 23, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Who says the Knicks aren’t working during the playoffs?

Sure, the MSG dwellers might not be playing, but they certainly appear to be doing their homework ahead of another pivotal summer that once again will be linking them to an abundance of big-name free agents or potential trade targets. 

And it apparently is rubbing some teams the wrong way. 

Knicks executive William Wesley, forward Julius Randle, and former player-turned-special-assistant Allan Houston turned up courtside for the Utah Jazz’s Game 1 postseason opener against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center where they were apparently keeping tabs and doing some scouting on Utah star guard Donovan Mitchell and emerging Dallas playmaker Jalen Brunson. 

According to SNY’s Ian Begley, their mere presence “surprised and upset” some “prominent members” of the Jazz.

The Knicks have long been linked with the 25-year-old, who grew up around New York due to his father working with the Mets as a coach. And he hasn’t been shy in showing his love for the MLB club.

Trade rumors have been commonplace around the guard, who could very well ask for a way out of Utah should the Jazz lose to Dallas in the first round. 

The three-time All-Star, however, has continuously fought back such speculation despite there being whispers of frustrations playing alongside center Rudy Gobert.

If a trade request were made official, New York would immediately become a favorite — which is likely why there was some frustration from the Jazz’s camp during Game 1 — but the price tag would be an exorbitant one considering Mitchell is in the second year of a five-year, $163 million contract extension

That would mean the Knicks would have to part with a king’s ransom of draft capital to start the conversation if they wanted to pair him up with the likes of RJ Barrett. 

Jalen Brunson
Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson (13) goes to the basket as Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic, left, defends in the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Thursday, April 21, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

New York also could have been keeping a close eye on Mavericks point guard Jalen Brunson, who is enjoying a breakout campaign at the perfect time considering he’s set to hit free agency this summer. 

A 25-year-old New Brunswick, NJ native, Brunson posted a career-high 16.3 points and 4.8 assists per game this season. He’s been even better in the playoffs, stepping up for an injured Luka Doncic by averaging 29.8 points over the first four games of the series. 

The Knicks have long been searching for a long-term, effective option at the point guard position. They most recently whiffed on the acquisition of Kemba Walker in hopes that the four-time All-Star would provide some stability at the position. 

Instead, struggles and injuries saw Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau remove him from the playing rotation in December before being shut down for the remainder of the campaign in February. 

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