Donovan Mitchell grew up about 25 miles from Manhattan, living in a town called Elmsford in New York. He’s an unabashed Mets fan, and has taken batting practice at Citi Field. He’s thrown a ceremonial first pitch at a Brooklyn Cyclones game.
Mitchell appears to be true New Yorker. So in a way, it’s no surprise that the Utah Jazz guard has been connected to a move to the Knicks for the last few years.
Recently, though, there’s been some real indication that Mitchell will indeed be traded to the Knicks. The Athletic on Tuesday reported that the Jazz and Knicks have re-engaged in trade talks for the 25-year-old guard after months of inactivity.
And two days later, with genuinely intriguing timing, Mitchell was on the corner of West 155th Street and Frederick Douglas Boulevard making an appearance at Rucker Park, the most famous basketball court in NYC.
Mitchell attended the Street Ball championship game at Rucker Park on Thursday and was also promoting the upcoming launch of his new shoe, the D.O.N Issue 4. He took selfies with throngs of New Yorkers and chatted with rapper Fat Joe, who hails from the South Bronx.
Fat Joe talked to a reporter from a local TV station and wasn’t shy about what jersey he wants to see Mitchell wear. He said he hasn’t seen the court buzzing like it did when Mitchell was there in years.
“If only he could become a Knick,” he said before gesturing toward the crowd at Rucker Park. “New York has answered. They want Donovan Mitchell to be a Knick. You see the people. They out here.”
The Jazz have reportedly asked for a truckload of assets in any deal involving Mitchell. The Knicks can give up to six draft picks and RJ Barrett if they wanted to go that far.
ESPN pundit Stephen A. Smith, an outspoken Knicks fan, has also been clamoring for Mitchell to come to New York.
“New York needs a star! We need a star!” Smith said on television this week. “… Give me this dude I can give the ball to when it counts and say, ‘Deliver for me.’ Give me the dude that’s going to give me 25 a night and I know it. Donovan Mitchell is the man the New York Knicks should have drafted. He is the man they should have had. They need to go get him. But you can’t give up six picks for him — that’s robbery.”