In a league that is supposedly tough on tampering, teams are unsurprisingly very paranoid when it comes to protecting their star players.
In Game 1 against the Mavericks earlier this month, the Utah Jazz had a couple of very interesting guests sitting courtside in the arena: Julius Randle and Knicks' front-office members William Wesley and Allan Houston.
It didn't take long for the media to pick up on their attendance, and it quickly became a national Twitter story.
Well, apparently, the visit wasn't received well by Jazz personnel. One report described them as "surprised" and "upset."
Earlier in the week, Knicks executive vice president William Wesley and veteran forward Julius Randle sat courtside at the Jazz-Mavericks game in Dallas.
Multiple teams are monitoring the situation in Utah. They wonder if the club will undergo significant roster upheaval if they lose to Dallas. That’s partially why the presence of Wesley and Randle courtside drew the attention of a few opposing teams.
Some prominent members of the Jazz were surprised and upset to see Wesley sitting courtside for the game, per SNY sources.
As you might have guessed, this situation isn't just about getting a visit from the Knicks.
Over the past few months, rumblings about Donovan Mitchell's disdain for the Jazz have heated up tremendously. Years of subpar play and poor coverage in a small market have led many to believe Mitchell could be on his way out soon.
"Look, we're betting on the recent history of the league. And every year the recent history of the league is 'superstar x decides he doesn't want to be somewhere' and it ends way faster than you think. In this case, there are some teams that could do some pretty big packages. You also have Danny Ainge there I think they'll try to trade Gobert first. But they will not bring this team back. This team now, it reminds me of this mid-2010s Clippers teams where it's like alright, this is done."
"If Mitchell doesn't make All-NBA, that can speed this up. Because he's just like 'wow we're a 6th seed nobody talks about our team, nobody thinks we have any real upside and, on top of all this, I'm not even an All-NBA player? I need to go to a bigger market.' It could happen."
The Knicks are out of the playoff picture, and it's no secret that they hope to bring a star into their franchise sooner than later.
As a young and electric scoring guard, Mitchell could be the guy they need to finally become a threat in the East.
But they will have to wait a little bit longer before they can make a run for him. Clearly, the Jazz aren't ready to let him go.