Report: Jalen Brunson calls off Mavs meeting, plans to sign with Knicks

jalen brunson, knicks

As expected, the New York Knicks are landing their coveted free agent target Jalen Brunson.

Brunson has reportedly informed the Dallas Mavericks that he intends to sign with the Knicks for a four-year deal worth $104 million, including incentives. His meeting with the Mavericks’ top brass Thursday night was called off hours before the free agency began.

The Mavericks offered Brunson a five-year, $106 million deal to return, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

It has been widely expected that Brunson is going to New York after the Knicks set in motion their plan with a Draft Day trade with the Detroit Pistons. They opened up massive cap space in two separate deals with the Pistons offloading Kemba Walker, Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel.

Brunson is coming off his best season in the NBA, averaging career-high 16.3 points on an efficient 50/37/84 shooting split, 3.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists. Twice the Mavericks fumbled in locking up Brunson to a long-term extension. The former Villanova star cemented his place in the league as one of the rising stars when he carried the Mavericks sans an injured Luka Doncic to a 2-1 series lead against the Utah Jazz.

Brunson averaged 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists as he emerged as the second-best player on a Doncic-led Mavericks team.

With the Knicks, Brunson has a shot at growing into an All-Star with the promise of running his own team.

The Brunson signing is the first monumental move of Knicks president Leon Rose, who came on board with the expectation that he would leverage his long-established relationships around the league as one of the top NBA agents.

His deep ties with the Brunson family were all over this massive coup for a Knicks organization that has been perpetually searching for a backcourt stabilizer.

Rose represented Jalen and his father, Rick Brunson, who was recently hired to rejoin Tom Thibodeau’s coaching staff. Rick Brunson also worked under Thibodeau in Chicago and Minnesota. Leon’s son, Sam Rose, is Jalen Brunson’s day-to-day agent at Creative Artists Agency.

A former second-round pick, Brunson has been a winner everywhere he goes. He won two NCAA championships with Villanova and helped the Mavericks reach the Western Conference Finals this past season.

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Hawks scuttle Knicks’ dream Jalen Brunson-Dejounte Murray backcourt

Dejounte Murray, knicks, spurs

The Atlanta Hawks continue to break the New Yorks Knicks’ hearts after trading for San Antonio Spurs’ All-Star guard Dejounte Murray to pair with Trae Young.

The Knicks lost their bid for the Spurs’ triple-double threat guard to a Hawks package consisting of Danilo Gallinari’s expiring $21.45 million contract and three future first-round picks — 2023 first-round pick via Charlotte, and their own 2025 and 2027 first-round selections — and a 2026 pick swap, per ESPN report.

Ironically, the Charlotte pick used in the trade was acquired from the Knicks in the Cam Reddish trade.

A Brunson-Murray pairing could have solidified the Knicks’ backcourt, which has been their weakest link for years. Instead, they will have to deal with Murray and Young in the competitive Eastern Conference.

The Hawks have beaten the Knicks in the first round of the playoffs two seasons ago, spawning a bitter rivalry with Young emerging as New York’s new villain.

The Knicks have a surplus of first-round draft picks. They have 11 over the next seven drafts. But they have already dealt all their veterans on team-friendly deals except for Taj Gibson, who could be waived and re-signed to a veteran minimum.

The Knicks have been shopping former lottery pick Cam Reddish and Evan Fournier, but the Spurs were not interested in taking back long-term deals and a young player who is extension-eligible.

The Knicks have opened up $33.9 million in cap space after dumping Kemba Walker, Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel in two separate deals to the Detroit Pistons, attaching a total of six second-round picks and $6 million cash.

They are expected to land Brunson on a four-year deal reportedly worth $110 million.

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Knicks dump Noel, Burks to clear cap space for Brunson, rotation logjam

The Dallas Mavericks’ worst fear came true Tuesday night as the New York Knicks successfully created massive cap space for Jalen Brunson.

The Knicks unloaded Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks’ combined $19.2 million salaries to the Detroit Pistons’ cap space for two second-round picks and $6 million cash as a trade incentive, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The trade created roughly $30 million in cap space for the Knicks, clearing the pathway to sign Brunson to a lucrative four-year deal worth over $100 million when NBA free agency begins on Thursday at 6 pm ET. It also eliminated the chance for the Mavericks to recoup something for Brunson in a sign-and-trade with the Knicks.

Tuesday night’s trade was a crushing blow for the Mavericks, who were confident of retaining Brunson until the Knicks made their move starting Thursday’s Draft Night. It was clear that the Knicks were determined to get Brunson without needing the Mavericks’ help when they dumped Kemba Walker’s $9.2 million salary to the Pistons in an earlier deal.

It took the Knicks six second-round picks (four in the Walker trade) to create the necessary cap room to pursue Brunson.

Before the trade, there was a reported growing pessimism around in Dallas that Brunson would return. The Mavericks were only prepared to offer Brunson a five-year deal comparable to the four-year, $85 million deal that guard Fred VanVleet signed with the Toronto Raptors in 2020, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.

Dallas could still trump the Knicks’ offer owing to Brunson’s Bird Rights. Still, a $30 million per year to keep Brunson would have cost the Mavericks a total of $130 million in salary/tax in one season for point guard alone, according to ESPN’s front office insider Bobby Marks.

After they land Brunson, possibly as early as Thursday, the Knicks will likely proceed to re-sign Mitchell Robinson using his Bird Rights.

The series of trades did not only open up the necessary cap room for the Knicks to land Brunson but also rotation spots for some of their young players.

With Noel gone, Jericho Sims will likely take his spot in the second unit. The Knicks are reportedly mulling over converting Sims’ two-way contract into a standard deal, per SNY’s Ian Begley. Quentin Grimes, who showed flashes of a solid 3-and-D player in spot minutes last season, will likely take the place of Burks in the rotation.

However, there is a belief that the Knicks have other moves up in their sleeves. Multiple reports have linked them to San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray as another likely target.

It’s believed that the Knicks could pivot to trying to make a run at San Antonio’s Dejounte Murray via trade or another target of Murray’s caliber using the many draft picks they’ve stockpiled even if Rose, as increasingly expected, secures Brunson’s signature,” Dallas-based NBA insider Marc Stein wrote in his Substack newsletter Tuesday.

“SportsNet New York’s Ian Begley reported Tuesday that the Knicks do not regard Brunson as a player who can thrust them into the East’s elite on his own. Yet I’m told that the Knicks do see Brunson as a source of steadiness they’ve lacked and a player suited to handle the pressures of playing in such a high-profile media market.”

Even if the Knicks do not land Murray, they could still make one more move — flip Cam Reddish into another future draft asset.

The Knicks still have a surplus of two second-round picks in the next seven drafts and 11 first-round picks to dangle in a future trade for a star down the road.

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Jalen Brunson ‘is widely anticipated’ to sign over $100 million deal with Knicks

jalen brunson, knicks

The New York Knicks are expected to land Jalen Brunson when the NBA free agency begins Thursday at 6 pm ET, according to multiple reports.

After projecting confidence early on that they can retain Brunson, the Dallas Mavericks are reportedly growing pessimistic about their chances.

The domino began to fall when the Knicks hired Jalen Brunson’s father, Rick, to fill Kenny Payne’s hole in Tom Thibodeau’s coaching staff in New York. Then it continued last week with the Knicks’ Draft Day trade with the Detroit Pistons that saw them unloading Kemba Walker’s $9.2 million salary.

The Knicks could clear the necessary cap room, which is reportedly north of $25 million if they can dump Nerlens Noel or the injured Alec Burks into another team’s cap space of trade exception. They have explored trading Noel into Los Angeles Clippers’ $9.7 million trade exception. On the other hand, Burks is reportedly generating interest from the Boston Celtics, among other contenders.

The Mavericks could hope that the Knicks would not be able to clear more cap room before Thursday in order to recoup something in return for Brunson.

On top of the deep ties that bind Brunson and the Knicks’ brass, a major part of the allure of coming to New York is the opportunity to become the full-time point guard. The Knicks have been perpetually searching for an answer to their glaring hole.

Brunson will come in and become the Knicks’ starting point guard. He is expected to steady the Knicks’ backcourt coming off a career year.

Playing second fiddle next to Luka Doncic, Brunson averaged career-highs 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists while having an efficient 50/37/84 shooting split. Brunson stepped up to another level in the playoffs, averaging 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists on a 46/35/80 shooting split.

The 25-year-old Brunson carried the Mavericks on his back to a 2-1 series lead against Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz, including an NBA playoff career-high 41 points with Doncic on the sidelines.

Brunson is projected to crack the top 15 highest-earning point guards in the NBA with his imminent deal with the Knicks.

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Knicks ready to make Jalen Brunson a top-15 PG in NBA in terms of salary

The New York Knicks are just one Nerlens Noel or Alec Burks trade away from officially joining the Jalen Brunson’s sweepstakes.

After the dizzying wheeling and dealing during last Thursday’s NBA Draft, the Knicks have emerged as a real threat to the Dallas Mavericks’ bid to retain Brunson. They are reportedly preparing to offer Brunson a four-year in the neighborhood of $100 million.

Whether they would get there or not will only add drama in the coming days leading to Thursday’s start of free agency.

“The Knicks are increasingly expected to assemble a four-year offer to Brunson valued in the $100 million range, sources said, after the former second-round pick (No. 33 overall in 2018) played out the final season of his first NBA contract at $1.8 million in 2021-22.” Dallas-based NBA insider Marc Stein wrote in his Substack newsletter. “When the season ended, sources said, Dallas believed that a four-year offer ranging from $85-to-$88 million — similar to Fred VanVleet’s deal in Toronto — would likely secure Brunson’s signature.”

The Knicks are raising the ante in this high-stakes poker game in their bid to land Brunson to man the point next season under Tom Thibodeau and Jalen’s father, Rick Brunson, whom the organization recently hired as an assistant coach.

The Mavericks, who have yet to show any signs of concern, at least publicly, still can offer Brunson a staggering five-year, $175 million deal if push comes to shove. Whether they will do that or not is another story worth anticipating.

But if the Knicks successfully clear more cap space and lure Brunson to a four-year contract that will start to pay him $25 million next season, that salary would rank top-15 among point guards next season granted Russell Westbrook ($47 million) and Kyrie Irving ($36 million) opt into their player options.

The 2022 NBA Finals MVP and four-time champion Stephen Curry leads the pack with $48 million salary next season.

Sitting below Brunson’s projected salary floor for next season is Indiana Pacers’ Malcolm Brogdon ($22.6 million), a Knicks fallback option, Charlotte Hornets’ Terry Rozier ($21.4 million), who is also reportedly available via trade, and Toronto Raptors’ Fred VanVleet, a player who resembles Brunson’s built and career trajectory and the one that got away for the Knicks in the summer of 2020.

Another Knicks’ fallback option, Minnesota Timberwolves disgruntled guard D’Angelo Russell, sits at top-10 with $31 million owed him for next season.

Is Brunson worth that type of money?

Based on his postseason performance, yes.

Brunson averaged 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists on 46/35/80 shooting split as the second-best player in a Western Conference Finals team during the playoffs. When Luka Doncic was out, he was the Mavericks’ best player and led them to a 2-1 series lead against Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz.

None of the current Knicks players have done that since their postseason run two seasons ago.

Brunson may not be the fancy star the Knicks fan is craving for, but he has the pedigree of a winner from Villanova to the pros.

Will Brunson’s projected $100 million deal cripple the Knicks’ flexibility?

The answer is a resounding no.

The Knicks will still have plenty of cap room in the summer of 2023 even if they extend RJ Barrett to a sizable contract, presumably under the $181 million, five-year max he is eligible to sign. They will still have plenty of cap room to add one or even two maximum players (depending on what they do to the rest of their young players with club options in 2023) to a core of Brunson, Barrett and Julius Randle, who is set to earn $25.6 million in the second year of his extension. Or they could package Brunson or Randle to trade for a star down the road.

But first things first, the Knicks need to clear more cap space to pursue Brunson without needing the Mavericks’ help. If they successfully land Brunson this offseason, it will represent a significant milestone for the Leon Rose era in their pursuit of building a consistent winner in New York.

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Knicks head into free agency trying to correct last summer’s mistakes

Kemba Walker’s ill-fated New York homecoming officially ended Thursday night at the NBA Draft as the Knicks dumped him to Detroit.

It cost the Knicks an 18-year-old prospect who may become a future All-Star center in their buyer’s remorse. But even as they continually preach patience, they do not have the luxury of time to work on a project like Jalen Duren. They already have Mitchell Robinson, who is more of a sure thing at this point when they are chasing a playoff berth in a crowded Eastern Conference.

In the grand scheme of things, the Knicks’ Draft Night moves have undone one of their blunders as they try to get back on playoff track — the requisite in luring a wandering star down the road that can vault them into legitimate contention.

The Knicks thought Duren, along with whatever package they offered to the Detroit Pistons, was enough to land them Jaden Ivey, one of the prospects with superstar potential from Day One. But as the Pistons stood pat as they also coveted Ivey, the Knicks pivoted in shedding Walker’s salary to move to their plan B (Brunson).

After a dizzying night of wheeling and dealing that netted the Knicks roughly $18 million in cap room and three conditional first-round picks, they are now just one move away from virtually sealing Jalen Brunson’s move to Broadway.

Despite giving up four second-round and a future first-round pick to acquire Duren from the Charlotte Hornets, the Knicks still have a surplus of four selections in each round in the next seven NBA Draft.

“Last night, we made three trades involving draft picks, which resulted in increased financial flexibility and additional draft capital moving forward,” Rose said in the statement. “We now have a total of 22 picks, 11 in the first round and 11 in the second round over the next seven years.”

“We have the ability to be active in free agency, as well as in the trade market. Our focus will remain to be strategic and thoughtful in our team building, doing it the right way, while feeding off of the momentum from the end of last season and prioritizing our player development program.”

The Knicks might need to dip again into their draft capital to complete the required cap space to sign Brunson outright. They could have shed Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks’ salaries at the trade deadline if not for their penchant for trying to win every transaction. The three-team trade with the Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Lakers that would have also included Cam Reddish bogged down due to the Knicks trying to squeeze more draft capital on top of a future first-round pick and Goran Dragic’s expiring salary.

While Brunson may not become an All-NBA player, his attributes and winning pedigree could help the Knicks get closer to that missing piece/s. Unlike Walker, who was already on a decline when they signed him last summer, Brunson is 25 and still ascending to his prime.

From the start, the Walker-Knicks marriage lacked the foundation to last — the commitment to make it work. Cracks in the relationship surfaced early as Tom Thibodeau couldn’t trust Walker’s knees even in a diminished role. Walker had his moments but for the most part, it was frustratingly painful to watch his worst season unfold.

That will not be the case with Brunson.

Because Jalen, like his father Rick, is Thibodeau’s guy, not just the front office’s guy.

Despite the Mavericks repeatedly brushing off the Knicks’ threat, “it is real, very real,” as Marc Stein reported in the aftermath of Thursday’s NBA Draft.

Disgruntled fans may fault the Knicks front office for not trying hard enough to get their guy in the draft. But they could have done worse. They did not make any stupid move — a clear sign there’s no desperation on their part.

Despite Rose’s lack of openness to the media in articulating their plan, they came into Thursday’s NBA Draft with a clear goal of undoing last summer’s mistakes.

Success in the NBA front office requires a sound plan. Execution can be tricky. But adjusting as quickly as you can when things go sideways is the difference from getting stuck to bouncing back.

This Knicks front office showed Thursday night they are capable of doing that.

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Knicks dump Kemba Walker to Pistons to open cap space

knicks, kemba walker

The New York Knicks have shed Kemba Walker’s salary to open up cap space for a potential run at Dallas Mavericks’ unrestricted free agent Jalen Brunson.

In a shrewd three-team trade, the Knicks first acquired No. 13 pick Jalen Duren from Charlotte for a future first-round pick and four second-round picks.

Then the Knicks attached Duren to Walker in a package sent to the Detroit Pistons for the Milwaukee Bucks’ top-4 protected 2025 first-round pick.

The Pistons will likely absorb Walker’s $9.1 million salary next season using part of the $21 million trade exception they created from the Jerami Grant trade. Walker is expected to negotiate a buyout from Detroit.

The Knicks gave up one of the conditional first-round picks — Denver Nuggets’ top-14 protected — they acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder for their No. 11 pick, which turned out to be Ousmane Dieng of New Zealand.

On top of the Nuggets’ 2023 first-round pick, the Knicks also received Washington Wizards and Pistons’ 2023 first-round picks. Both picks are top-18 protected.

Overall, the Knicks traded their No. 11 pick, Kemba Walker and four second-round picks in exchange for three conditional first-round selections and some salary cap space.

As pointed out by ESPN’s front office insider Bobby Marks, the salary dump move will keep the Knicks at a $104 million guaranteed salary, $18 million below the expected $122 million salary cap for next season.

The Knicks are not done shaving guaranteed salaries as they are reportedly also looking to trade Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel to open up more cap space.

Brunson is expected to command $20-25 million annually in the open market.

In the second round, the Knicks selected Trevor Keels out of Duke with the 42nd pick. A five-star recruit out of high school, the 6-foot-4 Keels averaged averaged 11.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a freshman for the Blue Devils.

Keels is a long shot to crack the rotation and may see more time with the Westchester Knicks to develop his game.

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Which option will Knicks pursue: Kyrie, Ivey, Brunson or Brogdon?

Jaden Ivey Knicks

Suddenly, the New York Knicks have a plethora of options to fill their backcourt void: Kyrie Irving, Jaden Ivey, Jalen Brunson or Malcolm Brogdon?

But they all come with a cost. The million-dollar question now is which way will the Knicks go?

On Monday, The Athletic’s top NBA news breaker Shams Charania added Irving to the Knicks’ growing list of lead guard options. Irving’s future with the Brooklyn Nets remains murky since GM Sean Marks’ cold remarks during his end-of-the-season interview.

The Knicks, along with the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, are expected to be among the interested suitors if Irving heads elsewhere, according to Charania.

“For the Knicks, the likely path to acquire Irving depends on what the Nets prioritize. New York is even with the salary-cap line for 2022-23, so it could clear enough space to sign Irving on a maximum contract by offloading salaries such as Evan Fournier, Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel and Kemba Walker. But the Knicks could also offer some or all of those players to the Nets or a third team in a possible sign-and-trade,” Charania wrote.

Irving is the best option for the Knicks in terms of star power and skill set, bar none. But the fit is questionable regarding the Knicks’ timeline and Irving’s penchant for attracting off-court drama.

Ivey, the projected top-4 pick, further fueled speculations about the Knicks’ Draft Night plans when he listed them as potential landing spots.

“I started looking at films of Sacramento (Kings). Obviously, there could be a situation where I could land in New York. I watched a lot of Detroit (Pistons) — the pieces that they have, [they have] young talent — and OKC (Oklahoma City Thunder) is where I could see myself at,” Ivey said in a zoom call with reporters Monday.

Ivey spoke about the Knicks with reverence. The 6-foot-4 combo guard said it would be an honor to play for the Knicks, which he described as a tremendous organization. There seems to be a strong mutual interest between both sides as the Knicks are reportedly one of the teams planning to trade up to get the Kings’ No. 4 pick.

“I feel like I could complement [Knicks] organization and help them win if they drafted me,” Ivey added.

While Ivey did not visit New York, the Knicks were front and center during his Pro Day led by team president Leon Rose and coach Tom Thibodeau. And they don’t need more intel since Ivey is a client of Creative Artists Agency, a known Rose’s bailiwick before taking the Knicks job. Ivey shares the same agent (CAA’s Austin Brown) with Knicks former lottery pick Obi Toppin.

The Purdue star, whose game resembles a cross between Ja Morant and Russell Westbrook, believes he’s a natural fit with the Knicks.

“I think I could definitely fit,” Ivey said. “I have that DNA to be a winner. Obviously, you have to have guys who want to win in order to win. Like you said, RJ Barrett, I feel like they want to win. It starts just in practice and I just feel like I have that DNA to win and we’ll just see what happens.”

The Kings’ asking price may be high, but it’s not as high as the price of getting Donovan Mitchell down the road or Irving this summer. But the Knicks need to trump any offer from the Thunder, armed with seemingly bottomless draft picks and intriguing young players, and the Pistons, who have Jerami Grant.

Somewhere in the middle of the Knicks’ pursuit of a lead guard is Indiana Pacers’ oft-injured Malcolm Brogdon.

According to Charania, the Knicks (No. 11) and the Washington Wizards (No. 10) are interested in trading for Brogdon using their lottery picks.

Brogdon, who Brown also represents, signed a two-year, $45 million extension with the Pacers last year that will run through the 2024-25 season.

A wild card is the Dallas Mavericks’ breakout star Jalen Brunson, whose father Rick will be part of Thibodeau’s coaching staff beginning next season.

Brunson is set to become an unrestricted free agent, and the Knicks need only to shave around $20 million in salaries to pursue him in the open market.

On Thursday night, we will have a little clarity.

Will the Knicks go all-in on Ivey or weigh their other options and wait for July?

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Report: Knicks eye Malcolm Brogdon as fallback option

Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon has emerged as a fallback option for the New York Knicks to solve their point guard woes.

Brogdon has become expendable as the Pacers are keen on rebuilding around Tyrese Haliburton, their prized acquisition from the Domantas Sabonis trade.

Dallas Mavericks’ breakout star Jalen Brunson remains on top of the Knicks’ wish list but creating a pathway to land their future assistant coach, Rick Brunson‘s son, is a bit complicated without cap space.

“The Knicks looking to hire Rick Brunson, per Ian Begley of SNY, isn’t a coincidence. His son, Dallas Mavericks free-agent Jalen Brunson, may be next. While New York won’t have the cap room, multiple sources believe Dallas may blink at Brunson’s asking price, compelled to sign and trade him to the Knicks,” Bleacher Report’s salary cap guru Eric Pincus wrote.

However, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was adamant that they have the upper hand with an extra year (fifth year) they can offer Brunson, which other teams, including the Knicks, cannot offer. The Knicks’ summer plan could pivot quickly to another direction next week if they can successfully trade up for Purdue’s Jaden Ivey, viewed as the best point guard of this class.

But if they missed out on both Brunson and Ivey, Brogdon is their next target, according to Pincus’ colleague at Bleacher Report, Jake Fischer.

“The Knicks have also been linked to Brogdon in recent days by league personnel. New York is known to have interest in trading up from the No. 11 pick, with a perceived target of Purdue combo guard Jaden Ivey. But if New York doesn’t jump up the lottery order—league executives don’t forecast such a deal—and determines it is out of the running for free agent-to-be Jalen Brunson, Brogdon has been mentioned as one of several potential backup options for the Knicks to plug their hole at starting point guard,” Fischer wrote.

The Pacers are looking to flip Brogdon, who recently signed a two-year extension that locked him up until 2025, for a player that will align with Haliburton’s timeline or draft compensation. The Knicks have a deep chest of draft capital to use to improve their roster, which failed to return to the playoffs.

Brogdon, 29, has been a solid two-way point guard when healthy. But his extensive injury history had limited him to just 146 games over the last three seasons.

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Mavericks still unfazed despite Knicks’ move to hire Jalen Brunson’s dad

jalen brunson, knicks

The Dallas Mavericks remain confident of their ability to re-sign Jalen Brunson despite the New York Knicks‘ move to hire his father.

Rick Brunson is reportedly close to finalizing a deal to become part of Tom Thibodeau’s coaching staff, per SNY report.

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, “there is no grave concern bubbling (yet) in Dallas…”

It’s an open secret around the league that Thibodeau had wanted to bring Rick Brunson on board when he was hired to coach the Knicks in 2020. As previously reported, Brunson already tendered his resignation from his coaching post at Camden High School, only to change his mind a few days later.

The Knicks are the Mavericks’ most serious rival in Jalen Brunson’s services, with or without them hiring his father. But the Mavericks are unperturbed since they are the only team that can offer the most money with an extra year tacked on a potential deal.

“After cementing himself this season as Dallas’ second-most reliable player behind Luka Don?i?, Brunson is expected to command a contract in free agency that meets or even exceeds Fred VanVleet’s recent four-year, $85 million deal with Toronto. VanVleet was undrafted; Brunson was a second-round pick (No. 33 overall) in 2018,” Stein wrote in the Friday edition of his Substack newsletter.

Former NBA Agent and founder of ProFitX.ai Joshua Ebrahim, who struck a partnership with the Mavericks, projects Brunson’s floor in the $21 million range before his elevated performance in the playoffs.

“So I would imagine it to be between the $20-25 million range. I think that’s where he’ll end up and have a lot of interest from opposing teams,” Ebrahim said on the Mavs Film Room podcast last March.

The Knicks have to unload around $20 million — a combination of Kemba Walker, Nerlens Noel or Alec Burks — to open up a cap space to contend for Brunson in the open market. Otherwise, they will have to maneuver a complex sign-and-trade deal with the Mavericks, which they are reportedly not keen on doing.

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