The New York Knicks‘ season may have ended prematurely, but the team already looks to be making moves toward a quick turnaround.
On Saturday, members of the team’s front office were conspicuous by their appearance at Game 1 of the West quarterfinal series between the Jazz and the Mavericks in Dallas. While the group may have just been there to take in some playoff action, fans and pundits alike blew up social media with talk of the team scouting (courting?) potential targets.
Namely, Utah All-Star Donovan Mitchell and Mavs floor general Jalen Brunson.
Knicks executive VP William Wesley was joined at the American Airlines Center by former player and current VP of player development, Allan Houston. Also in attendance: Knicks scout Makhtar N’diaye and All-Star big man Julius Randle, who’s a Dallas native.
Fans React to the Knicks’ Curious Summit
Although the NBA’s tampering rules forbid Wesley, Houston and Co. from putting the hard sell on Mitchell and/or Brunson at this juncture, some believe that they were there to do just that.
“Julius Randle sitting next to William Wesley at the scorer’s table of this game is disgusting bro they aren’t even trying to hide it,” tweeted one fan.
“If Brunson wants that bag, today will go a long way,” wrote another. “P.S. World Wide Wes is at the game.”
“Knicks really front row for that jazz first round exit to pounce on Mitchell lol,” mused a third tweeter.
Meanwhile, over on Reddit, some fans were more taken by the fact that Randle was there with the New York crew than the Mitchell/Brunson factor.
“Randle scouting house listings in Dallas hopefully,” joked one Redditor.
“It’s pretty clear they not trading him. Now y’all could stop with all those fake trade posts,” another added.
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Mitchell & Brunson Linked to NY
As reported by Newsday’s Steve Popper and others, Mitchell is Wesley’s dream trade target, and it’s not difficult to understand why. The three-time All-Star averaged 25.9 points, 5.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds per contest during the regular season while hitting on 45% of his attempts from the field and 36% from three-point range.
Moreover, rumors have abounded that Mitchell could seek a trade elsewhere if the Jazz continue to fall short of expectations during postseason play.
Brunson, meanwhile, has deep ties to the Knicks organization.
His father, Rick, was one of Knicks president Leon Rose’s early clients during his former career as an agent (and Rose also represented Jalen for a time, too). Additionally, the elder Brunson, who once played in the Big Apple, has previously coached alongside Knicks play-caller Tom Thibodeau.
The Mavericks point-man is in the midst of a career year in Dallas, having averaged 16.3 points, 4.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds with shooting splits of 50-37-84.