Knicks Projected to Miss out on Top Free Agent Target

Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks

Getty Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks

As free agency quickly approaches, the New York Knicks are linked to multiple point guards, especially those hitting free agency.

Jalen Brunson is the obvious first choice for any team needing a lead guard next season, so it’s no surprise that his name keeps coming up when discussing the Knicks. However, according to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report, there could be a surprise team to enter the race for Brunson’s services in the coming weeks.

In his article Swartz notes that the Washington Wizards are a team to keep a close eye on in the Brunson sweepstakes as they look to add a lead guard to their roster following their mid-season trade for Kristaps Porzingis, which saw Spencer Dinwiddie head to the Dallas Mavericks, leaving the Wizards short on ball handlers.

“Given their lack of cap space and a new deal for Brunson likely exceeding $20 million a year, this would likely have to be a sign-and-trade. The two front offices have worked together before, of course, with the Kristaps Porzingis for Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans trade being one of the biggest at this year’s deadline.

Dallas could ask for a combination of players out of a group of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Rui Hachimura, and Deni Avdija, piecing together salaries to match Brunson’s new deal,” Swartz wrote.


Brunson’s Stock is Rising

Heading into the post-season, the common consensus was that Brunson’s impressive season would net him a contract in the region of $80 million over four years. However, the fourth-year guard has continued to improve throughout the post-season, leading many to believe his value could have risen by another $20 million – although that is on the optimistic end of the spectrum.

Still, in summer of limited cap space, the Mavericks hold the trump card due to owning Brunson’s bird rights, and the most likely outcome projects to be Brunson re-signing with the Texas-based team long-term. Of course, the Knicks, or any other interested party, could attempt to agree to a sign-and-trade with Dallas should Brunson make it clear he wants to play elsewhere moving forwards.

Yet, after averaging 23.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game while shooting 45.5% from the field in the playoffs, you can rest assured Dallas will be doing everything possible to keep their young guard with the team moving forwards. Luka Doncic will likely play a part in Brunson’s decision, too, as the pairing has developed a good on-court understanding, and should the guard opt to leave Texas, he will probably not play alongside a generational talent such as that for the majority of his career.


Knicks Could Put Faith in Youth

If the Knicks strike out on a potential Brunson pursuit, other point guard options will still be available on the free-agent market. But, the front office might decide to continue developing their young talent, which could mean an increased role for Immanuel Quickley, Miles McBride, and Quentin Grimes.

Furthermore, New York enters this off-season armed with a lottery pick for the 2022 NBA draft and could opt to select another guard to help round out their ball-handler rotation. Of course, should the Knicks go down this route, they will need to be confident in Julius Randle rebounding from a poor year and in RJ Barrett and Obi Toppin showing continued growth.

The Knicks haven’t been a primary free-agent destination for multiple years now, and rebuilding from within and establishing a winning culture might be the change in direction the franchise needs if the front office is brave enough to build solid foundations before trying to hit a home run in the summer of 2023.

 

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