NBA Free Agency Report: New York Knicks Have Donovan Mitchell On Their Radar
The New York Knicks are aiming to become a respectable franchise in the NBA again after being a cellar-dwelling team in recent years. The Knicks made several moves recently, reshaping their front office and coaching staff. And with a new front office and a veteran coach at the helm, the Knicks are expected to try their luck again in free agency, which did not work for them in the past.
According to Adam Zagoria of Forbes, the Knicks are eyeing to make a run at Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell. The Knicks recently hired Johnnie Bryant as the first assistant coach of new Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau. While Bryant has been credited for his player development skills, Forbes said that it is also linked to future plans of the Knicks, which includes making a pitch for Mitchell.
Bryant, who is currently working as a Jazz assistant coach, reportedly has a strong relationship with Mitchell. The 23-year-old guard is expected to be a hot commodity when he becomes a restricted free agent in 2021. The former Louisville standout has been on a tear in the playoffs for the Jazz, as he averaged 43.5 points and 7.5 assists in their first two games against the third-seeded Denver Nuggets.
Aside from Bryant, Mitchell is also connected to new Knicks president Leon Rose, who was the superstar's first agent when he entered the league. When the Knicks opted to hire Rose in March, Mitchell praised that move, saying that the Knicks have nothing to go but up with his former agent running the show for the franchise.
"I love Leon to death. He's a great dude, great person, and a really good businessman. So I think they're going to start going in the right direction when he gets in there," Mitchell said via Newsday. "I just think from the time I’ve known him obviously from the same agency, he’s just a guy who is charismatic. He’s a guy who cares, understands relationships. He has a lot of relationships throughout this league."
However, it is also worth noting that some people in the organization are still weighing on the possibility of adding Mitchell. Zagora said that once source told him that the Knicks wants Mitchell "badly" in free agency, but there are fears that he might not be a good fit with Knicks rookie RJ Barrett.
Barrett is considered as one of the cornerstones of their rebuild after getting selected as the third overall pick. The former Duke University standout, who averaged 14.3 points and 5.0 rebounds in 56 games for the Knicks this season, plays the same position as Mitchell, and there are still doubts if they can play together if the Knicks successfully lands Mitchell in 2021. Having enough cap space in 2021 is also not set in stone as well because they are currently being linked to several 2020 free agents like Fred VanVleet and Goran Dragic.
Danilo Gallinari Would Be an Ideal Target for Miami Heat
The Miami Heat are expected to make more moves in the offseason, especially if they fail to go deep into the playoffs this season. While the Heat are currently ahead 2-0 in their first-round series against the Indiana Pacers, it remains to be seen whether or not they have enough to beat current Eastern Conference favorites -- the Giannis Antetokounmpo-led Milwaukee Bucks and the defending champions Toronto Raptors.
According to Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, the Heat should strongly consider singing Oklahoma City forward Danilo Gallinari. The sweet-shooting forward, who will become an unrestricted free agent after the season, is averaging 18.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game this season. Favale believes that Gallo would be a perfect fit for the Heat and Miami will likely have a chance to offer an enticing deal with their cap space, which could still improve depending on what they will do with upcoming free agents Jae Crowder and Kelly Olynyk, who holds a player option.
"Miami instead has a chance at keeping Crowder and having enough left over to throw an offer north of $18 million per year at Danilo Gallinari, the exact type of shot-creating complement who should thrive in head coach Erik Spoelstra's offense," Favale said. "If a sub-$20 million salary isn't enough to pry him from Oklahoma City, the Heat have a few other avenues to wait on -- mainly Crowder's final cost and Olynyk's player option."
The Heat have previously expressed interest in adding Gallinari to their roster. The Heat and the Thunder discussed a potential trade before the deadline earlier this year. Miami was reportedly being asked to surrender protections to get a chance to acquire Gallinari but no deal came into fruition.
Gallinari reportedly wanted to sign a contract extension with the Heat but they did not come to terms, leaving the extension out of the picture. In turn, the Heat viewed trading for Gallinari very risky because he might turn out as a three-month rental for them at the cost of future first-round picks. Heat president Pat Riley admitted to the Miami Herald that he was disappointed when they failed to acquire Gallinari.
"I like Gallo. And I think he would have fit in here really well, but it didn’t work out," Riley said. "And somewhere you have to sort of draw a line in the sand for your team."
Preston Ellis of Bleacher Report also tagged the Heat as a potential destination for Gallinari. He pointed out, though, that the Thunder are still on the driver seat because they have his Bird rights, which would give them a chance to offer a bigger contract than any other team. He sees the Thunder as the leader in the race for Gallo at this point but it would all depend on how the Thunder will perform in the playoffs.
"Gallinari and OKC have experienced success with one another, and the Thunder have the resources to re-sign him thanks to his Bird rights," Ellis said. "If they decide to embrace a rebuild and move on from Chris Paul, retaining the 32-year-old veteran may become less of a priority. However, if they defy the odds and make a brilliant postseason run, doubling down on their current fortunes with a short-term deal may become the play."
Montrezl Harrell a Better Fit for the Utah Jazz Than Rudy Gobert?
The Utah Jazz have one of the best defenders in the league in Rudy Gobert, but Presley Meyer of FanSided's Big Red Louie is convinced that the franchise should move on from the French center. He pointed out that the Jazz should trade away Gobert in the offseason regardless of the result of their playoff campaign this year because he is convinced that the 28-year-old center will be a hurdle to the team's development.
"The soon-to-be three-time reigning defensive player of the year provides an excellent defensive addition for any team in a league where elite shot blockers are difficult to come by. Wherever he was to land, Gobert could ultimately be transformational for that squad- But in Utah, he will never help the Jazz reach its fullest potential," Meyer said.
Meyer said that Gobert would be a valuable addition to any team in the league, but he insisted that he is becoming a liability for the Jazz. Utah's roster is built to spread the floor, and Gobert's lack of significant offensive skills is clogging the middle for the Jazz.
And in the event he Jazz decide to move on from Gobert, Meyer added that they should go after Los Angeles Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell. He believes that the do-it-all forward is a better fit for the Jazz than Gobert because the former can also make a huge impact on defense, while also becoming a threat on the other end of the floor.
"Harrell can bring everything that Utah lacks on offense while not being too much of a drop off on defense," Meyer said. "Harrell is a solid shot-blocker and shot-deflector, and his drop-off in height does not negatively impact him as much as one might think."
Harrell is one of the leading candidates for the Sixth Man of the Year award this season. The 26-year-old power forward is averaging 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds to go along with 1.1 blocks per game. Harrell missed the seeding games for the Clippers after his grandmother passed away. But when he returned, his teammates, including superstar Paul George, had nothing but praises for the former Louisville star.
"It was great to have Trez here," George said after their Game 1 win over the Dallas Mavericks earlier this week. "His energy was felt. His presence was missed. I thought he looked good for his first game. It was like he's been with us for that time that he was gone. He just came in and kept rolling."
Based on how he is producing this season, there is a growing belief that the veteran forward could command between $15-20 million per year, which would still be lower than Gobert's $26 million salary next season. The cap potential cap space that the Jazz can get by trading Gobert and signing Harrell could then be used to add another piece, who could make a significant impact for Utah next season.
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