With Derrick Rose still a minimum of six weeks away from making a return after undergoing ankle surgery, the Knicks are in desperate need of a true and tried point guard.
Kemba Walker is close to a return after aggravating his left knee, meaning reinforcements are on the way, but relying on two veteran players who have proven to be injury-prone might be a liability the rest of the season.
That is why the Knicks’ front office was connected to Dallas Mavericks PG Jalen Brunson last week, representing a potential trade deadline acquisition.
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks are interested in Bruson at the deadline:
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.
Brunson’s rookie contract expires after the current season, and he’s reportedly looking for a big extension at 26 years old. After earning just $6.1 million over four years, the Mavericks guard has a bigger number on his mind.
“Brunson faces a similar market, but the guard is believed by many to be seeking near a four-year, $80 million contract,” wrote Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. “That is a large number, especially for a player that several competing executives think is too big of a target defensively in the playoffs.”
This season, Brunson is averaging 16 points, 5.6 assists, 34% shooting from deep, and 50% shooting from the field overall. His 45.5% effective field goal rate is solid, and experiencing year-over-year growth in the scoring department suggests he is on the up, which could be an enticing factor for the Knicks.
However, acquiring Brunson may not cost New York a ton of capital, especially with Dallas unlikely to sign him to the extension he is looking for. Considering Brunson is a local kid from New Jersey and his father Rick Brunson played for the Knicks, the obvious connections make him an exciting target. Rick also served as an assistant coach under Tom Thibodeau with the Bulls and Timberwolves, another valuable connection to consider.
If the Knicks are truly intrigued by his services, they would be smart to utilize him over the second half of the season before offering him a big extension. I don’t believe the acquisition of Cam Reddish interrupted those plans. Reddish is a small forward, and the Knicks severely lack facilitation at point guard, with Rose unavailable.
The former Villanova star has shown smooth shooting fundamentals this season paired with versatility and quickness, creating opportunities for others while finishing efficiently himself. Building upon those skills, the Knicks could extract a ton more value, but he’s far from the established star they need.