Knicks’ Jalen Brunson could sign a team-friendly $157 million deal

Apr 11, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA;  New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) controls the ball while Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) defends during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

If the New York Knicks can secure star point guard Jalen Brunson with a four-year, $157 million extension, their financial future looks significantly brighter. Fred Katz of The Athletic reports that Brunson is considering a team-friendly deal, potentially foregoing a five-year, $269 million deal that could be available next summer.

Balancing Earnings with Championship Ambitions

Opting out of a massive future extension might conflict with the NBA Players Association’s stance, which encourages players to maximize their earnings. However, Brunson might prioritize winning a championship and cementing his legacy in New York City over a higher salary.

May 8, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) celebrates in the fourth quarter  after scoring against the Indiana Pacers during game two of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Comparing Market Value and Potential Earnings

Should Brunson sign the $157 million deal, his annual earnings would average $39.25 million, which is below the market value compared to similar players, such as OG Anunoby, who recently signed for over $40 million per year. Yet, if Brunson waits until next free agency, he could command up to $53.8 million annually.

Brunson’s Impact and Performance

At 27, Brunson is at the peak of his career and is keen on leading the Knicks to a championship following the addition of Mikal Bridges, another Villanova alumnus. Last season, Brunson had impressive averages of 28.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game, with shooting percentages of .479 from the field and .401 from three-point range over 77 games.

During the playoffs, his performance intensified, averaging 32.4 points and 7.5 assists per game, although his shooting percentages slightly declined.

May 12, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA;  New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) dribbles the ball during game four of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs against the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks’ Roster Dynamics

The Knicks are poised to compete with a robust roster, featuring elite defensive wings like Anunoby and Bridges, the return of Julius Randle at power forward, and Mitchell Robinson recovering from injury. Despite losing Isaiah Hartenstein, the front office is exploring additional trade options.

Moreover, the contributions of Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo off the bench last season were crucial to the Knicks’ success. Their presence enhances the team’s depth and resilience, vital for sustaining performance amidst injuries.

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