With the NBA trade deadline coming up in about two weeks, the New York Knicks have a major decision to make regarding the future of the team and the direction they want to go.
The front office struck out on a number of free-agent signings this past off-season, including Evan Fournier, Kemba Walker, and the massive four-year, $117 million extension they offered to Julius Randle.
While Randle is still committed to New York and helping bring a championship to the city, his regression has put the Knicks in a tough spot trying to supplement with secondary players.
Luckily, third-year guard, RJ Barrett has stepped up to the plate and helped supplement Randle’s deficiencies on offense, but things would be ugly this season without Barrett.
With that being said, the front office needs to make a decision:
Do they want to wave the white flag and give up on this season or be aggressive at the trade deadline and inject talent that will hopefully push them into a playoff position?
One name that has bubbled to the surface is Jalen Brunson of the Dallas Mavericks. According to Marc Berman of the NY Post, the Knicks’ front office touched base with Dallas regarding Brunson and what he would cost in a prospective deal.
With reports indicating that New York is willing to trade veterans like Fournier and Walker, Dallas may laugh the Knicks off the phone unless they include several young names.
Further reports have indicated that Immanuel Quickley is a hot target for some teams, but the Knicks continue to shun them due to his potential.
However, Brunson is an intriguing player, averaging 15.8 points, 5.6 assists, and shooting 34% from three-point range the season. He’s also connecting on 50% from the field and 80% from the free-throw line.
Altogether, Brunson has performed well behind Luka Doncic, who controls offense for Dallas. Given a starting role, Brunson could be an electrifying player for the Knicks, and that is likely why he’s been connected to them and recent days. In addition, Brunson grew up around the team, as his father played for the Knicks back in the day and coached under Tom Thibodeau years later.
There’s an obvious connection between Thibodeau and Brunson, which could be a primary factor in their pursuit.
Nonetheless, if they were to acquire a point guard of his caliber, the team also must be willing to offer him an extension after the season. Brunson is reportedly looking for a four-year, $80 million deal. Unless the Knicks can part ways with some of their recently signed players, there’s simply no way they can afford to extend him.
The next few weeks should be telling, but the consensus is that the team still wants to compete for a playoff spot this year instead of throwing in the towel early.