The Knicks’ everlasting pursuit of a franchise point guard apparently is taking them back to the free-agent market where they’ll hope to have a bit more success than last year when they brought in Kemba Walker.
Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report reported on Tuesday morning that the Knicks will try to clear $25 million in cap space to make a legitimate run at free-agent guard Jalen Brunson this summer.
Two immediate contracts that would likely be moved are that of guard Alec Burks and center Nerlens Noel — the two combining to make a base salary of approximately $19 million for the 2022-23 season.
Of course, there are other, more dramatic ways of shedding cash like the nagging rumors that the Knicks could trade former All-Star forward Julius Randle. Whether that would be in a package to move up from the No. 11 pick at the 2022 NBA Draft on Thursday or not, Randle is set to make $23.7 million next season.
Brunson had a breakout season with the Dallas Mavericks in 2021-22, which couldn’t have come at a better time considering he’ll be on the open market next month.
Over 79 games, the 25-year-old New Brunswick, NJ native averaged 16.3 points and 4.8 assists per game to help facilitate an offense that featured the dynamo that is Luka Doncic.
It was a solid bet to make on himself after he declined a four-year, $55.5 million extension last summer from the Mavericks.
New York has been linked with Brunson for months, dating back to the February trade deadline as they were in desperate need of getting consistent production from the backcourt — a need that remains today.
Walker’s time with the Knicks is likely up after one inconsistent and injury-riddled season while Derrick Rose should continue to provide a veteran presence off the bench.
All the while, Immanuel Quickley remains a reserve option whose game continues to need refining.
Brunson provides immediate starting stability and if the Knicks could pull off another big move to steal Jaden Ivey at the draft, they’ll have something promising brewing quickly.