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Report: Knicks Could Be Jalen Brunson's 'Inevitable Destination'

Brunson has appeared to take another step closer to his blue-and-orange fate.

The New York Knicks remain focused on clearing the necessary cap space to make a substantial contract offer to Jalen Brunson in free agency. The current sentiment is those efforts will not leave them empty-handed.

According to Marc Stein, there is a 'growing resignation' within the Mavericks organization that Brunson's preferred landing spot is the Knicks and that he'll ultimately end up in New York.

The Mavericks can offer a favorable situation being a winning team coming off a Western Conference Finals appearance. They can also offer a fifth year in part of their contract offer while other teams are ineligible to do so. However, he will never be the primary ball-handler in Dallas given most things run through Luka Doncic. 

In New York, on the other hand, the Knicks can afford to give Brunson the primary ball-handler duties in their half-court offense. Given the success Brunson experienced at Villanova as the floor general in two national championship runs, it could be of interest to him to have that role once again. The Knicks, still headed by coach Tom Thibodeau, have made no secret about their desire for an experienced ballhandler, as they linger in almost every discussion around the future of Brunson, Donovan Mitchell, and others.

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Even if they add Brunson, New York is likely several moves away from Eastern Conference relevancy. However, having improved point guard play could go a long way in those efforts after the failed Kemba Walker experiment.

The Mavericks reportedly had multiple chances to get a four-year, $55 million contract extension done with Brunson, but opted not to do so. He went on to emerge as a full-time starter and averaged 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists in what became a career-best season. Many viewed the Knicks' moves at last week's NBA Draft as an attempt to move contracts to afford Brunson, as they traded Walker and the 11th overall draft pick in efforts that save over $20 million in 2022 cap space.

Many projected Brunson's potential next contract as being in the $20-to-25 million per season range before the playoffs began. With Luka Doncic sidelined for the initial three games of their first-round series against the Utah Jazz, Brunson stepped up in a major way. He led the Mavericks to a 2-1 record with averages of 32 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists during that three-game stretch.

Brunson's impact continued to be strong throughout the course of the Mavericks' run to the Western Conference Finals. He finished with averages of 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in 18 playoff performances. The projections then became anywhere between $25-to-30 million annually for his next contract. With the Knicks, he's expected to land a four-year contract that surpasses the $100 million threshold.