The New York Knicks signed point guard Jalen Brunson and lured him away from the Dallas Mavericks with a four-year deal worth $104 million, which includes a player option in the fourth and final year of his contract.
Brunson was a standout guard with the Villanova Wildcats, where he won two March Madness titles in 2016 and 2018. The Mavs drafted Brunson early in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft with the #33 overall pick.
In his fourth season with the Mavs, Brunson posted a career-best 16.3 points and 4.8 assists per game.
With Brunson, the Knicks finally have a point guard after multiple failed attempts over the last two decades. The Knicks did whatever they could to persuade Brunson to play ball in Gotham including the hiring of his father — Rick Brunson — an assistant coach and former member of the Knicks during his NBA playing days over 20 years ago.
The Knicks finished in 11th place in the Eastern Conference last season with a 37-45 record. It was a disappointing result for the Knicks considering they had a spectacular season the year before when they secured the #4 seed in the 2021 playoffs.
After adding Brunson in free agency, the Knicks saw an uptick in DraftKings’ futures market and they’re now +15000 odds to win the 2023 NBA championship.
Brunson: Leaving the Big D for the Big Apple
The Dallas Mavs were a final four team in the NBA last season after the Golden State Warriors knocked them out in the Western Conference Finals. Brunson — the starting point guard on an up-and-coming team like the Mavs — bolted in free agency to the lowly Knicks. Seems like a baffling move, right?
How unsuccessful are the modern-day Knicks? The lowly Knicks qualified for the postseason just once in the last nine seasons. Since Brunson’s father Rick played for the team in the 1999-2000 season, the Knicks won only one playoff series (in 2013) and posted just four winning seasons in the last 22 years. Are things that bad in Dallas that Brunson wanted to jump ship on a team that went to the conference finals?
Brunson loathed his role with the Mavs because the offense ran through the hands of Luka Doncic. It’s hard to argue against that strategy because Doncic is one of the top five players in the NBA. But, the young Doncic is still a huge ball hog, and Brunson thinks he’ll be able to make a bigger impact with the Knicks. After all, Brunson dropped 41 points against the Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs when Doncic missed the start of the series with a calf injury.
In February, Brunson rejected a contract extension when the Mavs offered him a four-year deal worth $55.5 million. Brunson knew he would earn significantly more on the free agent market. The Mavs had zero chance at retaining Brunson because he was all-in on free agency while leaning heavily toward the Knicks.
Now, the Knicks can focus their pursuit of adding Donovan Mitchell in a trade with the Utah Jazz.