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The New York Knicks have pursued Jalen Brunson in a very public manner for quite some time. During Game 1 of the first round series between the Utah Jazz and the Dallas Mavericks, top Knicks executive Worldwide Wes sat courtside along with Julius Randle. His presence ruffled a few feathers for both the Jazz and Mavericks due to the reported interested the Knicks have in both Donovan Mitchell and Jalen Brunson.
New York went on to hire Brunson’s father, Rick Brunson, as an assistant coach, while the Brunson family has strong ties to Knicks executive Leon Rose — Rick was Rose’s first client when Rose was an agent, while Rose’s son, Sam, currently represents Jalen. On draft night, the Knicks traded the No. 11 pick for three future first rounders and offloaded Kemba Walker’s salary. Initially the trade was a bit puzzling, because the Knicks had the opportunity to draft a young player like Memphis center Jalen Duren, but New York prioritized financial flexibility with an eye on free agency.
Those decisions are apparently on the precipice of paying off. Marc Stein reported that the Mavericks increasingly believe Brunson will sign with the Knicks.
Wrote Friday that the Knicks had amassed "major momentum" in their pursuit of Jalen Brunson after draft night.
There is a growing resignation in Dallas, sources say, that the Knicks are indeed Brunson's top choice and his inevitable destination.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 28, 2022
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported that the Brunson deal would be in the four-year, $100 million range.
At this point, it's widely anticipated that Jalen Brunson will go to the Knicks on a four-year deal in excess of $100M. It remains to be seen how New York will clear the rest of the necessary cap space and whether the Mavs can work a sign-and-trade to recoup assets.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) June 28, 2022
Brunson had a stellar playoff performance that helped guide the Mavericks to their first Western Conference Finals appearance since 2011. He averaged 21 points a game through the postseason, which included a vital 41-point game against the Jazz while Luka Doncic nursed a calf injury.
The Mavericks had an opportunity to offer Brunson an extension during the season, but chose to wait until the trade deadline for any potential deals that could include Brunson. Once the deadline passed, Brunson was no longer interested in signing an extension because the Mavs could only offer a four-year, $55 million deal.
The deal isn’t set in stone, but Brunson signing with the Knicks would be a major blow for a Maverick team that just started gaining momentum for Doncic’s prime, while New York would acquire some much-needed point guard help.