The Dallas Mavericks have made it clear that re-signing Jalen Brunson is the team’s top priority this summer. The 25-year-old guard made himself a ton of money in his breakout fourth NBA season, but Dallas views him as a key piece of their future.
Rumors suggest the Knicks are a threat to sign Brunson. New York did not have cap space, but they created some on draft night by trading the 11th overall pick to acquire future picks and dump the salary of Kemba Walker. The Knicks have somewhere between $16-18 million in space if they let Taj Gibson go, so they need to make more moves to get enough to sign JB.
HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reported that the Knicks are “all-in” on targeting Jalen Brunson in free agency. The news should not come as a surprise, but Scotto had some new information.
Dallas Mavericks rumors: Knicks all-in on Jalen Brunson pursuit
Scotto noted that the Knicks could trade Cam Reddish or Alec Burks to create additional room. Those moves would cost New York at least one first-round pick. They acquired three on draft night, but those trades all look slightly worse if the Knicks just use them to create cap space.
The biggest question on every MFFL’s mind is where does Brunson want to play next season? Knicks president Leon Rose has strong ties to the family, including being JB’s first agent. Jalen’s father, Rick Brunson, is also an assistant coach in New York. Does Brunson want to stay in Dallas or join his father in New York?
The Knicks can offer the 25-year-old the lead ball-handling role. Brunson will always be the number two behind Luka Doncic in Dallas, but the Knicks are not in the same position to win as the Mavericks. Does JB want a larger role or a better chance to win games?
This saga will drag into free agency, but the Mavericks are not worried. Here is what president of basketball operations and general manager Nico Harrison had to say about the team’s level of optimism on bringing back Brunson following Thursday’s draft.
"Honestly until he tells us he doesn’t want to be here, we are optimistic. We haven’t heard otherwise, so we are optimistic. We have to be."
Jalen Brunson is an unrestricted free agent, and he is can sign with any team once free agency opens on June 30. Will he choose the Dallas Mavericks? Stay tuned to find out.