Skip to main content

Knicks To Offer Mavs' Jalen Brunson Big Bucks - and More?

The Knicks are reportedly making a major effort to clear cap space amid their pursuit of Jalen Brunson.

The Dallas Mavericks have addressed their starting center position by trading for Christian Wood. Their focus shifts to retaining Jalen Brunson in free agency, who appears set to receive a massive contract offer from the New York Knicks. 

Brunson is fresh off a career-best campaign with averages of 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists in his fourth NBA season. With Luka Doncic sidelined for the first three games of the Mavericks' first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz, Brunson averaged 32.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists en route to a six-game series victory. 

Brunson's perceived value had soared after leading the Mavericks to a 2-1 record to begin their series against the Jazz without Doncic. He continued to make a significant impact with averages of 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in 18 playoff games as the Mavericks made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals, where they eventually fell to Golden State.

Part of the Knicks' appeal to Brunson will be the ability to be more of a focus in their half-court offense. Given the Mavericks' unwillingness to assist the Knicks' pursuit of Brunson by cooperating with a sign-and-trade, New York has gotten busy clearing cap space. During the NBA Draft, the Knicks traded the No. 11 pick (Ousmane Dieng) for future draft capital while also shedding Kemba Walker's near $9.2 salary.

The Knicks still have work to do in terms of clearing cap space. Some potential trade candidates include Evan Fournier ($18.0 million), Derrick Rose ($14.52 million), Alec Burks ($10.0 million), Nerlens Noel ($9.24 million), and Cam Reddish ($5.95 million).

According to Marc Stein, there is an increasing expectation the Knicks will assemble a contract offer for Brunson in the "range" of a four-year, $100 million deal.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

The Knicks are increasingly expected to assemble a four-year offer to Brunson valued in the $100 million range, sources said, after the former second-round pick (No. 33 overall in 2018) played out the final season of his first NBA contract at $1.8 million in 2021-22.

The maximum contract offer the Mavericks can provide Brunson is a five-year deal worth $175.45 million. Dallas can use Bird rights to exceed the salary cap for a $30.25 million first-year salary with eight percent annual raises.

According to Spotrac, the Knicks have the maximum possible cap space of $8.94 million when factoring in all guaranteed salaries along with waiving any non-guaranteed salaries and renouncing cap holds. Among New York's non-guaranteed money is Taj Gibson's near $5.16 million salary.

Stein also reported a growing belief inside the Mavericks organization that Brunson may want to embrace the challenge of joining the Knicks despite Dallas' ability to offer a five-year contract.

Only the Mavericks, possessing Brunson’s Bird Rights as the incumbent team, have the ability to offer a five-year deal that could zoom well past $100 million. But further boosting New York's chances is a growing belief among some close to the situation that Brunson wants this move to Madison Square Garden despite his considerable rise in prominence as a Maverick and Dallas’ ability to outbid the Knicks, enticed by the opportunity to become New York's unquestioned lead guard on top of strong family ties. 

Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison briefly spoke about the Brunson situation after the draft, which saw Dallas add G League Ignite guard Jaden Hardy with the 37th overall pick obtained from Sacramento.

“I mean, we’re aware of [the Knicks’ pursuit of Brunson], but we knew they would do that. We weren’t shocked that they did that. They tried to do it at the trade deadline. [We] don’t really have a concern level. It was expected,” Harrison said. "Honestly, until he tells us he doesn’t want to be here, we’re optimistic. We haven’t heard otherwise, so we’re optimistic. We have to be.”