NBA Rumor: Emmanuel Mudiay Free Agency

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What is Utah’s view of Mudiay? Did they view him as a possible point guard to re-sign? It seems like he progressed a lot during the season, making the correct reads, but is it enough progress that the Jazz want to hold on to him? – Jarrett T. Mudiay probably resurrected his career this season. He was terrific off the bench. He defended. He made plays off the dribble. He made good reads. Simply put, he has met and exceeded almost all expectations of him. And that’s why there is a good chance he won’t be on the roster next season.

When David Fizdale rested sore-shouldered Emmanuel Mudiay for Friday’s 120-96 blowout loss to the Rockets, the Knicks coach made a comment that he didn’t want to do anything that might affect Mudiay’s career with his first free agency upcoming. “I think about these guys’ careers from the standpoint of, we’re not going to the playoffs, this kid has now established himself and put himself in position to have an offseason where multiple teams are going to want to talk to him,’’ Fizdale said of Mudiay, who will be coming off his rookie-scale contract. “I don’t want to risk that after that he’s done so much to get to where he is.”

It seemed a concession that Mudiay, 23, may have played his way out of New York showing he can be a rotational point guard. The Knicks may have $70-plus million in cap space, but they also have a young PG in Dennis Smith Jr. and the possibility of adding West Orange, N.J. product Kyrie Irving. While Fizdale fell in love with Mudiay, there may not be a perfect pathway to his return. And Mudiay acknowledged the uncertainty before the Rockets game for the first time. “I feel like I owed [Fizdale] a lot, especially the organization because they gave me a chance. He let me go out there and be myself, so any time I was going through something, I always thought about something that he would have done for me,” Mudiay said. “That’s a conversation that we all are going to have I guess at the end of the season, so if [a return] happens, it’s great. That’s a good thing. I love everybody in this organization. At the same time, I know you’ve got to wait for those guys [other free agents] to make their decisions as well.”

Mudiay isn’t ruling out a return to New York, but he understands that with Dennis Smith Jr. and Ntilikina under contract and the possibility of a player like Kyrie Irving coming to New York, the choice may not be his. “That’s a conversation that we all are going to have, I guess, at the end of the season,” he said. “So if it happens, it’s great. That’s a good thing. I love everybody in this organization. At the same time, I know you’ve got to wait for those [stars] to make their decisions as well. “I think it’s going to be a pretty interesting [free agency] just because there are great players in it as well. You want to see where people are going to land, see where it goes from there, really.”
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