Knicks gaining ground in pursuit of Jalen Brunson?

Knicks gaining ground in pursuit of Jalen Brunson?

The Knicks are gaining major momentum in their quest to Mavericks free agent guard Jalen Brunsonleague sources tell Marc Stein (Substack link).

As Stein notes, the Knicks began losing their 2022/23 salary on draft night when they agreed to send Kemba walker ($9.2 million) to Detroit and vacated its first-round pick, dropping a projected cap of $4.5 million from next season’s books. They don’t have enough room yet to make Brunson a competitive offer, but there’s growing belief that they’ll be able to pull it off, Stein writes.

Sources tell Stein the Knicks appear to be preparing a four-year, $100 million offer for Brunson.

The Mavericks have long expressed confidence in their ability to re-sign Brunson, with the president of basketball operations Nico Harrison repeating that refrain on draft night, telling reporters that the Knicks’ efforts to create a cap room came as no surprise, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon (Twitter link).

“Until he tells us he doesn’t want to be here, we’re optimistic,” said Harrison.

However, according to Stein, the Mavs believed at the end of the season that a four-year offer in the range of $85 million to $88 million would likely be enough to retain Brunson. It seems less and less likely.

Dallas owns the rights to Brunson’s Bird and has the ability to offer any amount up to the maximum, plus a fifth year — the Knicks are limited to four years. But he’ll be an unrestricted free agent, so the Mavs won’t necessarily be able to retain him by matching or exceeding the Knicks’ offer.

Stein says some people close to the situation increasingly believe Brunson is interested in moving to New York, where his former agent Leon Rose runs the Knicks front office and his father Rick Brunson was recently hired as an assistant coach.

According to Stein, the opportunity to take on a “new challenge and expanded responsibility” with the Knicks might appeal to young Brunson. Stein cites sources who say there’s “growing fear” within the Mavs organization about the risk of the point guard running away.

Rose hardly ever holds media sessions and couldn’t discuss Brunson publicly anyway, but it’s worth noting that he released an official statement on Friday about the Knicks’ draft moves — the phrase “increased financial flexibility.” gained prominence. place in this statement explaining the team’s strategy (Twitter link via’s Ian Begley).

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