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'They Want Him Bad': Knicks Call Mavs About Brunson Trade

The New York Knicks reportedly 'want Jalen Brunson bad' before the NBA trade deadline. The Dallas Mavericks should make them prove it.

As the Dallas Mavericks inch closer to the NBA trade deadline, trade rumors continue to heat up, not only with players the Mavs want to pursue, but also with opposing teams attempting to go after Dallas players.

"Jalen Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith, two low-salaried but highly rated Mavericks headed for unrestricted free agency this summer barring contract extensions by June 30, have no shortage of suitors," said NBA reporter Marc Stein on Friday.

In the specific case of Brunson, the New York Knicks' interest in the four-year guard has been well documented. SNY's Ian Begley recently suggested that the Knicks could pursue Brunson in free agency this summer, noting his ties to the franchise. But according to a new report by the NY Post's Marc Berman, the Knicks would like to make a move sooner if possible.

The Mavericks still haven’t afforded former Villanova point guard Jalen Brunson a contract extension and he has made another leap this season. As The Post has reported multiple times, the Knicks have had Brunson on their radar.

The Knicks already contacted the Mavericks sometime in the past about Brunson, an NBA source said. “They want him bad,’’ the NBA source said.

There has been some speculation in the past about Brunson's long-term future with the Mavericks after not coming to an agreement on a contract extension, along with potential suitors to watch. However, the most Dallas can offer Brunson in an extension is $55 million over four years. Brunson will be able to make more money than that as an unrestricted free agent, so it makes more financial sense for him to wait until that time.

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This doesn't mean Brunson is planning to leave the Mavs, but the speculation is just something that comes with the territory when you have a young player hitting unrestricted free agency so early. The construction of Brunson's contract by the previous Dallas front office was an unforced error.

The Mavericks recently moved Brunson into the starting backcourt, something that called for after Christmas when Luka Doncic was preparing to make his return, and it has worked quite well. Dallas has a 6-1 record in seven games with Brunson starting alongside Doncic, and both players are posting strong averages in those performances.

Brunson has checked the box of being the secondary ball-handler the team was aiming to acquire in the offseason. On the season, Brunson is putting together a career-year with average of 16.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 5.7 assists, all of which are single-seasons bests compared to his previous campaigns.

The stellar play from Brunson this season may have put him out of the Knicks' price range if they truly hope to make a trade for him. Berman's source claims that New York 'wants him bad.'

To that, the Mavs should simply say to the Knicks, "prove it."