Donovan Mitchell throws out the first pitch before the Cyclones game

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Donovan Mitchell throws out the first pitch before the Cyclones game

The uncertainty about Donovan Mitchell’s future doesn’t seem to bother him.

Though the three-time All-Star guardian’s name was circulating in trade rumors that the Knicks were interested in landing the high-scoring star and the Rebuild Jazz believed they were serious about moving him, Mitchell enjoyed a Saturday in Coney Island .

Mitchell completed several rounds of batting practice and threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Brooklyn Cyclones game at Maimonides Park. He joked with reporters, signed autographs for fans and posed for photos like he was completely carefree.

He only had one request.

“We’re not talking about basketball,” said the 25-year-old native of Elmsford, NY. “Nobody talks about basketball.”

The fans at the game, however, had other ideas. There were requests for Mitchell to play for the Knicks. Several in attendance wore Knicks gear. The word “Knicks” was used frequently.

“We want you to come to New York, Donovan,” yelled one fan. “We need you in New York.”

Donovan Mitchell, who was the subject of the Knicks' trade talks with the Jazz, throws the first pitch before the Cyclones game.
Donovan Mitchell, who was the subject of the Knicks’ trade talks with the Jazz, throws the first pitch before the Brooklyn Cyclones game.
Joseph E Amaturo

A child standing next to him yelled, “Pleeeaaaase.”

That elicited a smile and a grin from Mitchell.

After he threw the first pitch and headed for the dugout, the fans tried again.

“Join the Knicks, Donovan Mitchell,” a man called. “Come to the Knicks.”

“We love you in New York ‘Spida,'” said another.

Then a brief “Go, New York, Go New York, Go” chant erupted.

Mitchell is in limbo at the moment. The Jazz recently traded veterans Rudy Gobert and Royce O’Neale and are in the process of taking down Western Conference contenders.

Knicks trade target Donovan Mitchell takes batting practice before the Brooklyn Cyclones game.
Knicks trade target Donovan Mitchell does batting practice before the Brooklyn Cyclones game.
Joseph E Amaturo

New Utah CEO Danny Ainge made a smash hit on the Gobert deal, landing four first-round picks (three unprotected) and a pick swap, along with the 20th overall pick in this year’s draft, center Walker Kessler, and the high-profile players Patrick Beverly, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt in Blockbuster Deal. There were reports that Ainge would like up to six first-round picks and young Knicks players Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, Miles McBride and Quentin Grimes in exchange for Mitchell, a haul the Knicks have so far been unwilling to offer.

However, it’s no secret that Knicks President Leon Rose, who was one of Mitchell’s agents, has an affinity for the Guard. Mitchell has a friendship with new Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson through Brunson’s teammate at Villanova, NBA free agent Eric Paschall, and is close to Knicks assistant coach Johnnie Bryant from their jazz days together. He is represented by CAA, the agency Rose once ran. Mitchell grew up nearby and now lives mostly in Greenwich, Connecticut during the off-season.

It was coincidence that Mitchell was in New York City at the Cyclones game shortly after trade rumors began to surface. This was planned well in advance. Mitchell has strong ties to the Cyclones and the Mets franchises. His father, Donovan Mitchell Sr., now works for them as Senior Director of Player Relations and Community Outreach. As a child, Mitchell served as a bat boy for the Cyclones when his father was the team’s batting coach.

Mitchell put up a pretty good swing in batting practice, hitting four home runs. He played baseball growing up before focusing all of his energies on basketball early in high school.
As he threw the first pitch, Mitchell drilled a punch out of the rubber — not the front of the mound like celebrities do — but the catcher couldn’t squeeze it.

What that means for the Knicks’ pursuit of Mitchell remains unclear.

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