Knicks Rumors: Donovan Mitchell Recruitment at Playoff Games Called 'Amateurish'

Adam WellsApril 29, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 28: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz smiles before Round 1 Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks on April 28, 2022 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

As the Utah Jazz look to find answers after another postseason disappointment, the New York Knicks don't appear to be hiding their interest in Donovan Mitchell. 

Per ESPN's Tim MacMahon, one Western Conference general manager called the Knicks' apparent recruitment of Mitchell "amateurish."

MacMahon noted the Knicks had executive vice president William Wesley, forward Julius Randle and assistant general manager Allan Houston sitting in the stands at American Airlines Arena for Game 1 between the Jazz and Dallas Mavericks on April 16. 

"Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson, the breakout star of the series, is expected to be targeted by the Knicks in free agency this summer," MacMahon wrote. "However, executives from other teams assume that the Knicks executives' prominent appearance—particularly 'World Wide Wes,' a former CAA consultant considered one of the game's great relationship builders—was part of New York's long-running, wink-wink plan of trying to get Mitchell to push the Jazz to trade him to his hometown team."

SNY.tv's Ian Begley reported last week that prominent members of the Jazz were "surprised and upset" when they saw William Wesley (aka World Wide Wes) sitting courtside at the game. 

There has been speculation for some time that Mitchell may not remain in Utah much longer.

Ric Bucher of Fox Sports reported in January, as the Jazz were in the midst of a five-game losing streak, there was "incessant buzz around the league is that there are those in Mitchell's circle who believe he is too big of a star for Salt Lake City."

The Knicks certainly figure to be in the market for any top stars who might be available in trades or free agency this offseason. They finished 11th in the Eastern Conference with a 37-45 record this season after making the playoffs with a 41-31 record in 2020-21. 

The Jazz will have to figure out what their direction is going to be moving forward. They have lost in the first round of the playoffs three times in the past four seasons. 

Mitchell told reporters after Thursday's season-ending loss to the Dallas Mavericks he wasn't thinking about his future right now. 

"My mindset is to win," he said. "Right now, I'm not really looking at that. … I'll think about it in a week. Right now I'm not thinking about that."

Utah does have Mitchell under contract through the 2024-25 season. He also has a $37.1 million player option for 2025-26.

If Mitchell decides he wants to leave the Jazz, the Knicks certainly figure to be one of the first teams in line to make a bid. They need a star in the backcourt and a go-to scorer. The three-time All-Star has averaged at least 24 points per game in each of the past three seasons.