Brunson is coming off his best season in the NBA, averaging emerging as the best player of a Knicks team that made the Eastern Conference semifinal for the first time since 2013.
The 26-year-old guard put up career-highs in scoring (24.0), 3-point percentage (41.6%), assists (6.2), steals (0.9) and minutes (35.0) in his first season with the Knicks after signing a four-year, $104 million deal last summer.
Brunson was more stellar in the playoffs, averaging 27.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.5 steals. He had four 30-point games against the Heat in the second round of the playoffs, which he capped off with a 41-point effort in Game 6 as the Knicks came within a play away from pushing the series to a Game 7.
Brunson joins Indiana Pacers’ Tyrese Haliburton, Minnesota Timberolves’ Anthony Edwards, Milwaukee Bucks’ Bobby Portis, Los Angeles Lakers’ Austin Reaves and his former Villanova teammate, Brooklyn Nets’ Mikal Bridges, according to The Athletic.
It will mark the second time Brunson will don the national colors after his MVP run in the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship, where Team USA went undefeated in seven games.
It will also be Brunson’s first trip to the Philippines, one of the three host nations of the quadrennial meet, and where his father, Rick, once played as an import for Gordon’s Gin (now Ginebra), the most popular ball club in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Meanwhile, Brunson’s teammates — RJ Barrett (Canada) and Evan Fournier (France) — will play in Indonesia, while his former Dallas Mavericks teammate Luka Doncic (Slovenia) will strut his wares in Japan.
Evan Fournier to Spurs?
An Eastern Conference Executive told Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney that Knicks veteran guard Evan Fournier could be headed to the San Antonio Spurs to mentor incoming French rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama, the presumed top overall pick of this year’s Draft.
“There has been some interest from San Antonio to make a deal; they would give up almost nothing to the Knicks, so you get Fournier there to kind of mentor (Victor) Wembanyama,” the Executive told Deveney. “San Antonio could take him into cap space, which would free up some more wiggle room for the Knicks.”
Fournier doesn’t expect to return to the Knicks next season after only appearing in a career-low 27 games this season.
“My season was over a long time ago. It took me a good month to understand that…. Obviously, there are gonna be changes and I’m gonna get traded,” Fournier said after the Knicks’ season ended on May 12 via SNY’s Ian Begley.
Fournier is owed $18.8 million next season with a $19 million team option for the 2024-25 season.
Evan Fournier Almost Traded for 2 Role Players
According to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer, the Knicks offered Evan Fournier for then Utah Jazz’s role players Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt before February’s trade deadline.
“The Knicks were another team that called about Beasley, sources said, attempting to land Beasley and [Jarred] Vanderbilt in a deal that would have sent out Evan Fournier. New York also eyed Beasley in 2020, when he was a restricted free agent, and that was before Gersson Rosas, then the Minnesota Timberwolves president who awarded Beasley a four-year, $60 million contract, joined the Knicks as a senior basketball adviser,” Fischer wrote.