The New York Knicks have been forever linked to Dallas Mavericks’ rising point guard Jalen Brunson.
The ties between Brunson and the current Knicks regime run deep. Team president Leon Rose considers Rick Brunson, Jalen’s father, as his first client when he was still a player-agent. Rick Brunson played for the Knicks when Tom Thibodeau was an assistant coach. Jalen Brunson is under CAA and Hoopshype lists Andrew Morrison, Aaron Mintz, who handles current Knicks star Julius Randle, and Sam Rose, Leon’s son, as his representation.
But despite these overtures, Brunson is likely to remain a Maverick, at least beyond the Feb. 10 trade deadline.
NBA insider Marc Stein reported on Monday — the third year anniversary of the Kristaps Porzingis trade — that there are no ongoing discussions between the Mavericks and the Knicks about Brunson.
“I’m told that the oft-suggested notion of trading Brunson to the Knicks to reacquire the 2023 first-round pick owed to New York to complete the Kristaps Porzi??is trade is not currently under consideration in Dallas. The Mavericks regard Brunson as too vital to this season’s aspirations to trade him and retain the belief that he wants to be a Maverick long-term,” Stein wrote in his Monday newsletter.
The Mavericks are willing to gamble and are banking on their Bird rights on Brunson to re-sign him this summer. Brunson, who is having a career year, has been resistant to accepting the four-year, $56 million extension that Dallas can offer him through June, according to Stein.
Brunson is enjoying a big spike across the board, averaging 15.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.6 assists, all career-highs. The former Villanova star has thrived as the secondary playmaker next to Mavericks’ generational star Luka Doncic.
The 25-year old Brunson, who will earn $1.8 million this season in the final year of his rookie deal, is reportedly seeking an $18 million annual salary range in his next contract.
For the Knicks to sign Brunson outright as an unrestricted free agent, they need to shed multiple contracts or Evan Fournier’s $78 million to create cap space.
The Knicks have reportedly made their veterans available, including offseason acquisitions Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier, who haven’t panned out as expected, and Alec Burks.
One scout noted the emergence of rookie Quentin Grimes and the addition of former lottery pick Cam Reddish as the likely motivation behind this reported move.
“Grimes has solidified his spot in the rotation with his shooting and defense. You don’t give up the first-round pick to just bury Reddish on the bench. Then Derrick Rose is just a few weeks away from returning. Thibodeau will be put in another tough spot if they can’t move some of their wings,” the scout told Empire Sports Media.
But it could also be a play for Brunson this summer, creating the necessary cap space to run after him.
Meanwhile, Stein also reported that the Mavericks had also backed off in a potential deal for Indiana Pacers’ Myles Turner even before the big man sustained a stress reaction in his left foot. That means one less likely competition for the Knicks, who have shown interest in trading for the league’s shot blocker and floor-spacing big man.
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