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New York Knicks president Leon Rose told Alan Hahn of MSG Network that he is “thrilled” with where the team is right now in response to a question regarding the team’s pursuit of three-time All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, whom the Utah Jazz ultimately traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Rose told Hahn that he couldn’t speak about players under contract with other teams before shifting the focus on the current squad.
“We went through that process (of trying to trade for Donovan Mitchell) and at the end of the day we made a decision to stay put,” Rose said (h/t Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News).
“And we’re thrilled with where we are. Taking a look at the summer, we feel great about what transpired.”
Rose summarized the team’s moves and why he’s happy with the squad going forward.
“One of our main goals has been to create internal stability. Signed RJ Barrett. First extension of a player since Charlie Ward,” Rose said.
“We retained Mitchell Robinson (for four years, $60 million). He’s a player who has developed the last few years and we feel very fortunate that we were able to keep him. We got the No. 1 point guard in free agency this summer in Jalen Brunson (for four years, $104 million). So we feel really good about the summer.”
The Knicks made the playoffs in 2021 in Rose’s first full year as the president but slid to 11th in the Eastern Conference last year.
Their big addition was ex-Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson, who starred in the playoffs en route to helping guide the Mavs to the Western Conference Finals. He ultimately finished with 16.3 points on 50.2 percent shooting and 4.8 assists per game last year.
New York reportedly coveted Mitchell to pair him alongside Brunson, and Mitchell even admitted that the Knicks were “very close” to landing him.
“Very close,” Mitchell said Wednesday on ESPN’s NBA Today (h/t Zach Braziller of the New York Post). “I won’t say more than that, but I know a little more than most. Definitely a little close.”
The Knicks will ultimately move on without Mitchell, but they are still improved with Brunson aboard. They’ll look to engineer a return trip to the playoffs starting Oct. 19 when they take on the Memphis Grizzlies to open the season.