After what feels like months of courtship, the New York Knicks have finally landed their man in Jalen Brunson.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Brunson ‘intends’ to sign a four-year contract worth close to $110 million dollars once free agency opens at 6 PM Eastern on June 30.
Update: ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on June 30 that Brunson received a $106 Million-plus offer from the Mavericks prior to heading into a meeting with the Knicks during the early stages of free agency.
Brunson has been the Knicks’ primary free-agent target since their season ended without a playoff berth, and now it looks like they’re finally going to get their man and resolve a long-standing issue at the point guard position as a result.
The six-foot-one 25-year-old guard is coming off the back of an impressive season for the Dallas Mavericks, where he averaged 16.3 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game while shooting 37.3% from deep and 50.2% from the field. Impressively, Brunson’s averages increased during the post-season, with him dropping 21.6 points, 3.7 assists, and 4.6 rebounds per game while shooting 34.7% from deep.
The Knicks Have Been Clearing Cap Space
Over the last week, the Knicks have been making moves to free up the cap space required to sign Brunson. First, they made a plethora of draft-day deals, which in turn saw them remove Kemba Walker from the roster.
Then, on June 29, the Knicks traded away Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, and two future second-round picks, opening up an estimated $30 million in salary-cap space, which was more than enough to get Brunson the salary he was expecting this off-season.
“The Knicks have cleared $30M in salary cap space to offer Dallas’ Jalen Brunson in the neighborhood of a max contract. The unloading of assets and contracts clearly shows the Knicks’ confidence that they can secure Brunson once free agency opens on Thursday,” Wojnarowski tweeted on June 29.
New York now has a genuine point guard to pair with RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, and Julius Randle, as they look to avoid a repeat of last season, where they failed to build upon an impressive 2020-21 NBA season.
Knicks Have Been Front Runners For Brunson
New York has often been considered the leading candidate to acquire Brunson in free agency, but there have been moments where it looked like the ever-improving guard would remain with Dallas.
However, as reported by ESPN’S Tim MacMahon the Knicks were widely expected to finalize a deal to land their target should they clear the required cap space – which they have since done.
“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,” MacMahon reported via Twitter on June 28.
Brunson has proven capable of leading an offense in recent months, stepping up in Luka Doncic’s absence during the playoffs and having multiple high-scoring games against the Utah Jazz. Those performances, coupled with Brunson’s continued individual development seem to have convinced Leon Rose and the front office that he is the guard to help lead them back to the post-season.
With free agency still in its infancy, it will be interesting to see what over moves the Knicks have planned now that they have secured Brunson’s signature.