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Rick Pitino, who coached Utah Jazz shooting guard Donovan Mitchell for two years at Louisville, believes that Mitchell “would love to be a New York Knick” amid trade rumors connecting him to the Big Apple.
“Donovan’s dad works for the Mets, his mom obviously works at Greenwich Country Day,” the current Iona head men’s basketball coach said on a Zoom call with reporters Tuesday in response to a question from the New York Post.
“Donovan loves the Knicks, Donovan loves being around his mom, his sister, his dad. Donovan works out for Chris Brickley who also played for me in New York City,” Pitino added.
“Donovan would treasure, he would love to be a New York Knick. But that being said, things have to work out. I’m hoping, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he becomes a Knick. it would be very special for me as his coach to see him in a Knicks uniform, as an ex-Knicks coach.”
Marc Berman of the Post reported Sunday that there has been “renewed back-and-forth” between the Jazz and Knicks about Mitchell. Utah initially asked the Knicks for a package of seven first-round picks and players for the three-time All-Star.
On Monday, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the Knicks were “motivated” to acquire Mitchell and gave new proposals to the Jazz. However, a trade is not considered “imminent.”
“New York made a recent offer of Evan Fournier, Obi Toppin, additional salary and two unprotected first-round draft picks (five total), league sources tell me and The Athletic’s Tony Jones,” Charania wrote. “The Jazz’s asking price has been more significant than that.”
The Jazz have undergone big front-office, coaching and roster changes. Former Celtics president Danny Ainge is now alternate governor and CEO. Head coach Quin Snyder and the Jazz parted ways, and former Boston assistant Will Hardy has taken over. Defensive stalwart and perennial All-Star center Rudy Gobert was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves this offseason.
Now Mitchell could be on the move. Trading him would all but stamp a full rebuild in Utah, which should have a treasure trove of first-round picks to work with. Bringing Mitchell aboard should make the Knicks a clear playoff team, although they’d likely have more work to do to compete with the Eastern Conference’s elite squads.
Still, bringing Mitchell home to New York appears to be a big priority for the Knicks, and the former Louisville Cardinals star would reportedly love to see it happen based on his ex-college coach’s remarks.
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