The Dallas Mavericks have been informed that guard Jalen Brunson intends to sign with the New York Knicks in free agency, sources told ESPN.
A meeting with the Mavs scheduled for shortly after the opening of free agency Thursday night was canceled for the afternoon, sources confirmed, as Brunson had decided to commit to the Knicks. New York is expected to offer Brunson a four-year deal in the $110 million range, sources said.
NBA reporter Marc Stein first reported that the meeting with Dallas had been cancelled.
Brunson’s departure from Dallas to New York has been widely anticipated for days as the Knicks made a more lucrative offer to play a bigger role in a franchise that has strong family ties, including the recent addition of his father, Rick Brunson. , as a member. assistant coach.
Knicks president Leon Rose, who made a series of trades since draft night to create enough cap space to sign Brunson, is a prominent former player agent whose first client was Rick Brunson. He also represented Jalen Brunson early in his career. The recent hiring of Rick Brunson reunited him with head coach Tom Thibodeau, for whom he also served as an assistant with the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves.
The 25-year-old Brunson, coming off a breakout season in which he averaged 16.3 points and 4.8 assists per game, intends to help reinvigorate a New York franchise that hasn’t won a playoff series in the last nine seasons. New York’s only postseason appearance and winning campaign during that span came in 2020-21, Thibodeau’s first season as Knicks head coach, when they went 41-31 before losing as the fourth seed to Atlanta. Hawks in the first round.
Brunson established himself as Dallas’ second choice behind All-NBA shooting guard Luka Doncic, his classmate in the 2018 draft, after joining the starting lineup full-time in December. Brunson helped lead the Mavericks to the Western Conference finals for the first time in 11 years, averaging 21.6 points per game during the playoffs. He exploded with 41- and 31-point performances in first-round wins over the Utah Jazz while Doncic was sidelined with a calf strain, a strong indication that Brunson could thrive as a team’s primary playmaker.
“It’s a great fit. [in Dallas], but at the end of the day, my son is no different than the next guy,” Rick Brunson told ESPN during that first-round series. “You try to raise them the right way in terms of understanding the game, but everybody wants what he has. Luke. I don’t care who you are. Everyone wants that ‘Hey, I can do this too’ feeling. I don’t always think the grass is greener on the other side, but we’ll sit down this summer and look at all the pros and cons of staying here or going somewhere else.”
Mavericks governor Mark Cuban and general manager Nico Harrison ranked Brunson as the franchise’s top offseason priority following the playoff race, but Dallas’ confidence in keeping Brunson steadily waned. in the days leading up to free agency.
Sources said the Mavericks were willing to give Brunson a five-year deal, which only Dallas can offer due to owning his rights to Bird, that was comparable to the four-year, $85 million deal guard Fred VanVleet signed. with the Toronto Raptors. in 2020.
Brunson, an unrestricted free agent because the fourth season of his rookie contract was not guaranteed in lieu of a team option, turned down the Mavs’ offer of a four-year, $55.5 million contract extension after the deadline. changes, when Dallas forward Dorian Finney-Smith signed an identical deal. At the time, Brunson was confident that he would earn much more as a free agent.
Brunson had informed the Mavs in January that he was willing to sign the extension if it was offered to him then, his father Rick Brunson told ESPN during the playoffs. Dallas made a calculated decision to defer discussions until after the trade deadline, should the Mavs have a chance to trade for a star, as an extension would have made Brunson ineligible to be traded for six months.