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The Knicks, who will use a mid-level exception to target a free-agent point guard, have reportedly set their sights on Spurs backup Patty Mills (Post, June 16).

Mills, 25, had always been on the Knicks' radar for this summer, and bolstered his stock with a solid performance in the postseason.

A source said playing in New York would be an intriguing option for Mills as he would have the opportunity to build his game outside of being Tony Parker's backup.

“New York is definitely a city Mills would want to play in,’’ the source said. “He has that personality.’’

With 14 third-quarter points - including the kicker to the Heat in Sunday's Game 5 clincher - Mills' market value may have climbed out of the Spurs' range.

The 6-foot point guard opted into his contract of just 1.3 million last season and now is an unrestricted free agent.

Even though the Spurs may not be looking to shell out for a backup point guard, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich recognizes Mills' importance to the team.

“He’s a special guy,” Popovich said Sunday. “His energy has been important to us all year long. He’s a real significant reason why we got to the Finals. That energy, that team sense that he has really has become infectious for everybody.”

Tags: Knicks
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