The Knicks will sign Jalen Brunson to a contract using their recently freed-up cap space, avoiding the need to execute a sign-and-trade with his former team, the Dallas Mavericks.
Ever since rumors began swirling that the 25-year-old point guard would be moving north to Madison Square Garden this offseason, general manager Leon Rose and the Knicks’ front office went to work ridding themselves of high dollar contracts — including by trading away a pick to send Kemba Walker out of town, while also ridding themselves of millions of dollars in salary space to get rid of Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel.
Still, NBA insiders left the door open that the team could make yet another roster move by opting to engage the Mavericks front office in a sign-and-trade for Brunson, which would have allowed them to send assets back to Dallas, rather than simply ink the point guard to a deal on the free market.
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Speculators pointed to Evan Forunier or Derrick Rose as potential trade pieces in any such moves, as those two guards are set to make $18 and $14.52 million next season, respectively.
According to Fred Katz of The Athletic, however, the team will not be sending assets to Texas, and will instead give Brunson a 4-year contract worth over $100 million.
Signing Brunson, who was the team’s reported first-choice this offseason, ends the team’s 14-year search for a long-term option at the point guard position, which has been filled by a carousel of aging veterans and mediocre players since the departure of Stephon Marbury in 2008.
Brunson averaged 16.3 points, 4.8 assist and 3.9 rebounds in his 4th NBA season last year, and widely impressed observers with his stellar play in the playoffs, which saw the Mavericks reach the Western Conference Finals (before losing to the eventual NBA Champion Golden State Warrior).
At just 25-years-old, Brunson joins a team with a solid young core consisting of RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley and Cam Reddish.