Knicks Johnnie Bryant Hire Deepens Donovan Mitchell Connections
Aug 18, 2020, 2:21 PM
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The New York Knicks continue to draw stronger connections to Utah Jazz All-Star Donovan Mitchell. On Tuesday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Knicks are planning to hire Jazz assistant coach Johnnie Bryant, a close associate of Mitchell to newly hired head coach Tom Thibodeau’s staff.
The Jazz couldn’t confirm the hire, though the Knicks are expected to make an official announcement by the end of the week. Bryant will remain with the Jazz through their current playoff run.
The Knicks haven’t been shy about adding members to their staff who have existing relationships with Mitchell. In addition to Bryant, the Knicks hired the Jazz vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin in May. Leon Rose, hired as the Knicks president in March. Rose is the former co-head of CAA Sports, the agency that represents Mitchell in contract negotiations.
With the addition of Johnnie Bryant, who has worked closely with Donovan Mitchell, I think we can put to rest any doubt on IF the Knicks will try to court Mitchell in the future. https://t.co/g3Y2rfRDUS
— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) August 18, 2020
Mitchell Has Strong Knicks, New York Ties
In addition to the now growing connections between Mitchell and the Knicks, the All-Star guard has family ties to the state of New York.
Mitchell’s father is an executive with the Mets in New York where the Jazz All-Star guard was born and raised. As a native, Mitchell took in sporting events at Madison Square Garden.
New York native Donovan Mitchell on return to Madison Square Garden: “I think last year the whole trip was really just a blur to me. I think this year it’s more relaxed and I’m just excited to see friends and family but also excited to play in The Garden.” pic.twitter.com/YB9DyiQVWF
— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) March 19, 2019
In April, Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News suggested either the Knicks or Brooklyn Nets should pursue Mitchell. Mitchell’s relationship with fellow Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert hit a rough patch after both players tested positive for COVID-19.
The Jazz are likely to offer Mitchell a max contract this offseason up to five years, and over $125 million in value. The Jazz guard remains under contract with the Jazz through next season and will be a restricted free agent in the summer of 2021 if he opts against signing an extension this summer.
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