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Knicks Eyeing Jalen Brunson As Mavs Battle Suns For WCF Appearance

The New York Knicks continue to hold significant interest in acquiring Jalen Brunson as he helps lead the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs.

The Dallas Mavericks currently are engaged in a 2-2 series tie with the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference semifinals. While they are focused on earning a spot in the Western Conference Finals, teams like the New York Knicks are already eyeing potential offseason moves

Jalen Brunson has been linked to the Knicks for quite some time ahead of his unrestricted free agency. Brunson is repped by CAA and Knicks president of basketball operations, Leon Rose. is a former CAA agent. Jalen's father, Rick, also has personal ties to Rose, given Rick was Rose's first client as an NBA agent. 

Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns
Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns
Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns

This season, Brunson has played a significant role in the Mavericks' postseason success. With Luka Doncic sidelined for the initial three games of their first-round series against the Utah Jazz, Brunson led the team to a 2-1 series lead with averages of 32.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists.

Brunson has continued to play a vital role in the second round as well. While he struggled in the two road games in Phoenix, he responded with a game-high 28 points with five assists in Game 3 while chipping in 18 points and four assists in Game 4.  

Going forward, Brunson appears to be a viable secondary ball-handler solution to take pressure off Doncic. According to The New York Post, a source close to Mark Cuban expressed he'd be surprised if Brunson were to depart in free agency. 

"One league source who has spoken to Cuban during the playoffs told The Post he’d be shocked if Cuban didn’t keep Brunson, who averaged 28 points in the first-round series versus Utah. That doesn’t bode well for Leon Rose’s Knicks as they search for a premier floor general. Rose’s son, Sam, and Aaron Mintz are Jalen’s CAA agents."

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The Mavericks have additional motivation to do all they can to retain Brunson. While there are still exceptions, they can exceed the salary cap to re-sign Brunson using Bird rights but not to sign a player in free agency to replace him.

If Brunson did leave Dallas in free agency, theoretically, the Mavericks could work to facilitate a sign-and-trade, but they are not interested in doing that with the Knicks. New York would need to make room for Brunson on their own before signing him. 

Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns
Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns
Mikal Bridges, Phoenix Suns, Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks

The Knicks will not have a lot of options at their disposal to acquire a legitimate solution at the point guard position. It's a weak free agency class and Brunson certainly ranks high on the list of potential names to consider. 

The Knicks do have the option of giving more opportunity to Immanuel Quickley, who showed intriguing flashes throughout the 2021-22 season. He averaged 11.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in 23.1 minutes per game, but his efficiency was underwhelming. Perhaps a more significant role for a season could give New York what they need to evaluate further. 

If the Knicks intend to land an external option, other names like Collin Sexton (restricted free agent) and Malcolm Brogdon could be viable options. Some of the older, riskier options, including Russell Westbrook and John Wall, deserve some mention. 

There are other names out around the NBA for the Knicks to consider, but regardless, most of the appealing options would require a legitimately enticing trade package.