The New York Knicks made a big splash in free agency and now they are expected to pay a hefty fine because of it.
While it might not always seem like it, the NBA has rules that are meant to prevent tampering, which means free agents were only supposed to start negotiating potential deals once free agency opened on June 30.
In the case of Jalen Brunson, the Knicks had reportedly agreed to a contract a full two days before free agency opened, which looked like a clear case of tampering. The NBA doesn’t always act on it, but when it happens the result can be disastrous.
Last year, both the Bulls and Heat lost a draft pick because of the fines that were laid down on them, resulting in just 58 picks being made in the most recent NBA Draft.
The Athletic’s Fred Katz reports the NBA is getting ready to hand down a punishment for the Knicks based on conversations he’s had with people around the league.
Fine Coming to Knicks
According to Katz, the Mavericks are upset because they were unable to get a meeting with Brunson before he agreed to a deal with New York, but it also runs deeper.
“From what I’ve gathered, the Mavericks are quite frustrated with the Knicks — and not just because reports of a finished deal came out before New York was even allowed to speak with Brunson (though I am not sure how tampering rules account for father-son relationships, and this situation involves two of those),” wrote Katz. “Dallas wasn’t thrilled about Knicks executive William “World Wide Wes” Wesley showing up courtside to a Mavs-Jazz playoff game, either.”
While there’s not an inherent problem with scouting like that, it’s clear the Mavs weren’t happy with it happening. As for why Katz believes the NBA will punish the Knicks, that’s because it seemed clear they knew they were going to be able to get Brunson ahead of the opening of free agency.
“People I talk to around the league expect the Knicks to get dinged for tampering,” he wrote. “They started dumping salary for Brunson on draft night. They continued their offloading five days later, 48 hours before free agency even began.”
Trading away Kemba Walker, Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks was essential in landing Brunson, and that’s a process they started days before they could officially sign anyone. That led people to believe they had some sort of agreement with Brunson ahead of time since Noel and Burks were expected to be key pieces going into next season.
Brunson Fits in Well
Even if punishment is handed out, that won’t stop Brunson from being a member of the Knicks.
He’ll immediately become the team’s starting point guard, and if he’s able to carry over his performance from the playoffs, he might even be in the running for his first All-Star appearance.
While he’s not being brought in to be the team’s savior, he’ll definitely play a big role in New York’s success or failure next year.