As the Dallas Mavericks gear up to face the New York Knicks during the NBA Wednesday slate, the topic of Jalen Brunson's upcoming free agency has resurfaced. But this time? There's more of a twist to it.
Could Brunson end up signing with the Knicks in free agency? While SNY's Ian Begley is "suggesting'' more than "reporting'' this, his opinion on Brunson’s situation includes some intriguing potential factors to take into consideration.
Knicks President of Basketball Operations Leon Rose, formerly an agent with Creative Artists Agency (CAA), represented not only Jalen Brunson before making the switch to the front office, but also represented Brunson's father, Rick. Keep in mind, Rick Brunson also has coached with current Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau.
One other note: This is just my opinion, but I won’t rule out the possibility of the Knicks pursuing Jalen Brunson until the day Brunson announces his retirement. Brunson is a 2022 unrestricted free agent. He is a young, skilled lead guard.
Brunson has plenty of ties to this Knicks organization.
Brunson’s father, Rick, was one of team president ’s first NBA clients. Rose also represented Jalen Brunson. Rick Brunson, a former Knick, has coached with Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau.
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.
The Mavericks recently moved Brunson into the starting backcourt and it has worked quite well. Dallas has a 5-1 record in six games with Brunson starting alongside Luka Doncic and both players are posting strong averages in those performances.
Brunson has seemingly checked the box of secondary ball-handler the team was aiming to acquire in the offseason. The Mavericks will need to be willing to compete with perhaps the Knicks and other franchises when it comes to signing him to a new deal.
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On the season, Brunson is putting together a career-year with average of 16.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 5.6 assists, all of which are single-seasons bests compared to his previous campaigns.
Where Brunson can do himself a major favor for his value before the offseason would be to pull off a strong playoff series. Against arguably the toughest matchup in the NBA for his skill-set—the LA Clippers with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Nic Batum—Brunson averaged just 8.0 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.4 assists.
He's already proven to be a highly impactful lane penetrator using ball screens and attacking switches out in space. However, improving his perimeter shooting efficiency and getting the job against lengthy defenders will be important for the 6-foot-1 Brunson.
As the NBA trade deadline approaches, the Knicks have been linked to a variety of different potential trade targets; including Myles Turner (as is the case for the Mavs) and Cam Reddish. Either of those players would need a contract extension in the near future. Would Brunson and Turner or Reddish along with RJ Barrett and Julius Randle be a championship core? That's up to the Knicks to decide.
The Knicks tried to address the point guard position in the offseason with the Kemba Walker trade, but that hasn't quite worked out. Meanwhile, Derrick Rose is recovering from ankle surgery and is 32-years-old. New York does have some young backcourt options including Immanuel Quickley and Miles McBride, however.
For now, the Dallas Mavericks and Jalen Brunson remain focused on the team's matchup against the Knicks and building on their current momentum, as free agency is off more than half a year away.