DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks wonder if the New York Knicks’ successful recruitment of standout guard Jalen Brunson was accomplished within the boundaries of NBA tampering rules.
And now some are wondering if the Knicks’ pre-signing hiring of Brunson’s father Rick - an eyebrow-raising move that logic suggests might have been part of the recruitment - is also pushing some boundaries.
Coach Tom Thibodeau is saying the Knicks vetted assistant Brunson before his hiring. But New York - which continues to deny the tampering charge - is not as forthcoming with its thoughts on the history of allegations of harassment and sexual abuse levied against Rick Brunson.
Said Thibodeau on Tuesday: “When they hire anyone, they’re going to vet him. That’s corporate America … I’m very comfortable with who he is … I feel very strongly about him.”
Rick Brunson, 50, does not, however, create comfort for his critics.
In 2014, Brunson was charged but found not guilty of sexual assault of a masseuse in Illinois after allegedly using the name of former Knicks teammate Patrick Ewing to make the appointment.
In 2018, Brunson resigned as assistant coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves amid allegations of “improper interactions” toward women in the NBA workplace.
while he was on the job, according to The Athletic.
Most recently, Brunson has worked as a coach at the high school level.
Brunson worked for Thibodeau in Minnesota, played for the Knicks as the first-ever client of agent Leon Rose (now the Knicks president) and will now help coach son Jalen, the Knicks’ starting point guard after jumping from Dallas and signing a four-year, $104 million deal in free agency.
Said Thibodeau of coach Brunson: “He’s here. I’m comfortable. I know who he is.”
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