While it’s not yet official, almost every credible reporter that covers the Dallas Mavericks is saying Jalen Brunson is signing with the New York Knicks. ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported that the Knicks are viewed as “strong favorites” to land Brunson.
The Athletic’s Tim Cato reported that the Mavericks have felt they would lose Brunson for a couple weeks, and now were almost certain:
i'll add to the chorus: the Mavericks have had a belief for at least the past couple weeks, multiple sources tell me, that Jalen Brunson would sign with the Knicks. at this point, it's seen as a certainty.— tim cato (@tim_cato) June 28, 2022
The consensus is that Dallas is losing arguably their second-best player behind Luka Doncic. Even worse, it looks as if the Mavericks will lose Brunson for nothing, as the Knicks are sending Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks to the Detroit Pistons in order to clear space for a near-max contract for Brunson, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi.
The Knicks are trading center Nerlens Noel and guard Alec Burks to the Pistons, sources tell ESPN. The Knicks will unload $19M more in salary, clearing the way for cap space to try and sign free agent guard Jalen Brunson.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 29, 2022
There was some thought that Brunson might head to New York in a sign-and-trade so that Dallas could recoup some assets, but with the Knicks’ deal with Detroit, that’s not happening. The Mavericks will be left emptyhanded.
Brunson was second on the Mavericks in scoring and assists per game. He was tied for third on the team in rebounds per game. Additionally, Brunson is only 26 years old and was one of the few Mavericks players who could make a play off the dribble.
The Mavericks could have locked up Brunson for four years at $55 million, but they missed that chance. From MacMahon’s report:
Brunson had informed the Mavs in January that he was willing to sign the extension if it was offered then, his father Rick Brunson told ESPN during the playoffs. Dallas made the calculated decision to hold off on discussions until after the trade deadline, in case the Mavs had the opportunity to trade for a star, as an extension would have prevented Brunson from being eligible to be traded before the deadline.
Instead of locking up a good, young player at a team-friendly deal, the Mavericks will now have to search for a way to replace Brunson’s production without any cap space. That’s no easy task for Nico Harrison.
Listen to our two latest podcasts. Seth Partnow explains why Jalen Brunson leaving might not be the worst thing for Dallas. Then we have a Spotify Live where we lament the Brunson signing with fellow Mavericks fans. If you can’t see the embed, search Mavs Moneyball Podcast in your favorite player or click here.