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

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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 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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Mark Cuban thinks Knicks target Jalen Brunson wants to stay in Dallas

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The Dallas Mavericks are ready to spoil New York Knicks‘ bid to acquire unrestricted free agent Jalen Brunson this summer.

No less than Mavericks owner Mark Cuban indicated that they want to keep Brunson at all costs.

“We can pay him more than anybody. And I think he wants to stay, and that’s most important,” Cuban told Bally Sports Southwest sideline reporter and NBA insider Marc Stein, just moments after the Mavericks bowed out in the Western Conference Finals Thursday night.

Brunson raised his stocks further in the playoffs, averaging 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists after a career-high 16.3 points in the regular season.

The Mavericks bungled their chance to lock up Brunson in a much lesser deal last summer and during this season. Now, Cuban will have to open his wallet to secure their Doncic-Brunson backcourt and pay a huge luxury tax.

Per ESPN’s front office insider Bobby Marks, Brunson’s floor is the four-year, $75 million contract his teammate, Tim Hardaway, Jr., signed last year.

“The comparison for Brunson ranges from the four-year, $78 million extension that Marcus Smart signed with Boston to the four-year, $96 million extension that Terry Rozier signed last year with the Charlotte Hornets,” Marks wrote.

The Knicks and the Detroit Pistons are the threat to lure Brunson out of Dallas. But they could only offer him four years. The Mavericks are unperturbed as they hold Brunson’s Bird rights. They could offer the most money with an additional fifth year on a deal. On top of that, as presently constructed, the Mavericks offer Brunson his best shot at an NBA championship with Luka Doncic on board.

The Knicks need to unload at least $20 million in salaries (a combination of Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel or Kemba Walker) by June 30 to have a cap space to go after Brunson in the free agency. A sign-and-trade deal involving Knicks’ own unrestricted free agent Mitchell Robinson is more complicated than it seems.

First, the Knicks will need Robinson and the Mavericks’ cooperation. Then the salaries will be hard to match.

Marks noted that “only 50% of Brunson’s incoming salary for a new team applies. That means a $20 million salary counts as only $10 million in incoming salary, but the full amount still applies toward outgoing salary.”

Only the Pistons appear to be a threat among the four teams with projected cap space. But Brunson playing next to Cade Cunningham isn’t as appealing as playing next to Doncic. Phoenix Suns’ restricted free agent DeAndre Ayton could also be a bigger fish for the Pistons to catch this summer.

The Knicks are viewed as a legitimate threat not only because of the deep ties that link them to Brunson, but they could also offer him the keys to their backcourt.

Rick Brunson, Jalen’s father, was Leon Rose’s first NBA client. Rose also represented Jalen and negotiated his four-year rookie contract with the Mavericks. Now, Rose’s son, Sam, is one of Jalen’s Creative Artists Agency’s representatives.

But Rick made it very clear that it will ultimately be a business decision, not personal.

“I’ve made it very clear to Leon, ‘I love you to death. Your son works for Jalen, represents Jalen, but this is about Jalen.’ The one thing about Leon is he knows that. He raised Jalen that way, too,” Rick told ESPN in late April.

“It’s about what’s best for Jalen. Leon wouldn’t never talk to me again. The question I have is, is it a good fit in New York? We don’t know because we have to sit down and figure it out [and evaluate the] draft. July 1 is a long way away.”

After Brunson, the Knicks’ free agent options at point guard are limited with Tyus Jones, Ricky Rubio, Dennis Schroeder and Gary Payton II.

If they miss out on Brunson, and unless they could pull off a trade for Donovan Mitchell, perhaps the Knicks should consider promoting Immanuel Quickley to the starting unit with a fit-again Derrick Rose quarterbacking the second unit with Miles McBride.

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