The New York Knicks reportedly got their main free agent target once the offseason officially kicked off Thursday night.
The Knicks and guard Jalen Brunson agreed to a four-year deal worth just over $106 million, according to multiple reports.
The Athletic reported Brunson’s former team, the Dallas Mavericks, didn’t receive a chance to make an offer before the guard decided to sign with the Knicks.
Brunson will be reunited with his former agent, Knicks general manager Leon Rose, according to the New York Post.
The expectation is that he will help vault New York back to the playoffs.
Brunson, whose father Rick Brunson recently became an assistant coach for the Knicks, was a second-round pick by the Mavericks in 2018. The Villanova product got a chance to start in 61 games last season and averaged 16.3 points, 4.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds
Former longtime NBA scout Michael Vandegarde described the Knicks’ draft picks as “really interesting” but was more skeptical about pursuing Brunson.
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“Obviously, there’s reports of that and, if they do, then that was their plan all along to create that cap space, and then they have some solid draft picks coming down the pipe and people are complaining about it. But those protections keep getting more favorable to the Knicks down the road,” Vandegarde told Fox News Digital earlier this week. “Eventually, they’re gonna get some really good draft picks, from my understanding,
“I really like Jalen Brunson but to create cap space just for Jalen Brunson, I’m not sure that moves the needle. Let’s say best-case scenario you get him. It doesn’t change your franchise for the future. That just puts you in the middle. I don’t think that dramatically alters anything for the Knicks, which I don’t understand. If you were doing it for a bad deal or a couple of years ago you still thought Russell Westbrook was the guy … I can understand it doing it for a superstar, but Jalen Brunson isn’t that.”
New York is under pressure to get back to the playoffs after an underwhelming 2021-22 season. The team made the playoffs in 2020-21 for the first time in eight years but followed that up with a 37-45 record.
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