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Knicks Trade Two Players to Pistons, Clear Space for Brunson, per Report

The Knicks are reportedly trading Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks to the Pistons, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. New York is also sending its 2023 second-round pick, a 2024 second-round pick from the Heat and $6 million in cash to boost its deal with the Detroit. 

In making the trade, the Knicks’ total cap space tops $30 million in hopes of signing Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson in the “neighborhood of a max contract,” per Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst. Brunson will be offered a four-year deal in the vicinity of $110 million when free agency opens at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.

The Knicks’ latest move comes after reports surfaced earlier Tuesday that Brunson was likely to take his talents to New York on a potential four-year deal for an excess of $100 million, per NBA insider Marc Stein and ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.

However, before the Knicks’ decision to trade Noel and Burks, the franchise had to find a way to clear the remainder of its cap space. Brunson’s name being linked to New York became a bigger story after the Knicks traded out of the draft last week

Charlotte selected Jalen Duren at No. 13 and traded him to New York. However, the Knicks then traded Duren and veteran guard Kemba Walker to Detroit, shedding Walker’s $9.2 million of the roughly $30 million the franchise has released to pursue Brunson, according to Stein.

In the 2021-22 season, Brunson played out the final season of his first NBA contract at $1.8 million. He averaged a career-best 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists during the regular season and played a key role in Dallas’s postseason run to the Western Conference finals, during which Brunson averaged 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

However, because the Mavericks holds Brunson’s Bird rights, Stein reported that Dallas has the ability to offer Brunson a potential five-year deal north of $100 million. But, there is a “growing belief” that Brunson wants to play at Madison Square Garden despite his excellent season in Dallas. 

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