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Knicks executive William Wesley’s reported plan: Acquire Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell in Utah Jazz v New York Knicks

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 04: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz during a game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on March 04, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

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The Knicks’ plan: Trade for a disgruntled star.

But the plan, which included hiring CAA agents Leon Rose and William Wesley (“Word Wide Wes”) to run the front office, has come up empty so far. So, New York continues to search.

How about Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, a CAA client whose open tension with teammate Rudy Gobert is notable and might be even worse than it appears publicly?

Steve Popper of Newsday:

According to the same person who pointed to Wesley’s criticism of Thibodeau, Wesley has been selling his plan, one that eventually will land Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, a New York native.

Of course the Knicks want Mitchell. As does every team with a chance to poach him.

At least some dots connect here. Again, Mitchell is a CAA client. He’s from New York. There are murmurs Mitchell prefers a bigger market. Mitchel’s father, Donovan Mitchell Sr., works for the New York Mets. The Knicks hired Jazz assistant Johnnie Bryant, who had a good working relationship with Mitchell, as their associate head coach.

But Mitchell can’t become a free agent until 2025. He lacks leverage to force a trade, especially to a specific destination. The Knicks’ primary assets (all their own first-round picks, an extra first-rounder from the Mavericks, R.J. Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes, Cam Reddish) aren’t exactly overwhelming. Utah is very good and might win enough to appease Mitchell.

A big question: What lengths will New York go to get him?

Maintain salary-cap flexibility at the expense of building a stronger roster? Trade veteran players for draft picks that might be more appealing to the Jazz once they might be more open to trading Mitchell? Risk tampering?

Smart teams plot for years to land a star. But these measures could leave the Knicks worse in the interim, and there’s no guarantee they’d get Mitchell in the end.

Going hard after Mitchell is a risky proposition – though one that comes with the potential upside of landing one of the NBA’s top talents.