Jalen Brunson, Knicks agree to 4-year, $104 million deal

JUL 12, 2022 | NBA

The Knicks have reached a deal with Jalen Brunson, who was crucial for the Mavs in their run to the 2022 Western Conference finals.

Jalen Brunson, as had been widely speculated given his deep ties to the New York Knicks, agreed to sign with the Knicks on a reported deal for $104 million over four years, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The deal includes a player option for the final season.

The Knicks officially announced the deal on July 12.

Brunson enjoyed a breakout season in 2021-22, averaging 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game while shooting 50.2% overall and 37.3% on 3-pointers. He was even better in the 2022 playoffs, averaging 21.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg and 3.7 apg as Dallas made the Western Conference finals.

Brunson will be the fourth player to sign a $100 million contract with the Knicks, joining Carmelo Anthony, Julius Randle, and Allan Houston. Prior to signing with the Knicks, Brunson had had earned about $6 million, total, in his four seasons with the Dallas Mavericks and saw his value soar after his contribution to Dallas’ playoff run.

It was a shocking turn of events for Dallas, which hoped to keep Brunson in the fold this offseason.

Dallas owner Mark Cuban sounded confident in keeping Brunson after the Mavs’ season-ending loss to the Warriors in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.

“We’re going to get together and really focus on the type of J-Kidd player,” Cuban told Bally Sports Southwest after the game. “Guys who can guard multiple positions that are tough, that know their role, that are physical, that have a motor.”

In New York, Brunson will be trying to power the Knicks back into the playoffs and give them their first playoff series win since 2013.

The Knicks went 41-31 in 2020-21, finishing fourth in the Eastern Conference. Thibodeau was voted Coach of the Year and Randle the Most Improved Player. They gave the power forward a new contract in the offseason, added Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier and hoped to come back even better.

Instead, they fell all the way to 11th in the East, going 37-45 in Tom Thibodeau’s second season as coach.

Randle still averaged 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists, but his 3-point accuracy was way down (from about 41% to 31%) and his frustration was up — with referees, opponents, and even fans. He has such a large role on the team that the Knicks couldn’t overcome him being just a little worse than a season ago.

But RJ Barrett took a good leap in his third season and Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley played well down the stretch of their second. The Knicks hope that will carry over into next season after they get over the disappointment of this one.

“We wanted to be in the playoffs, we wanted to take a step, but I feel as though since the All-Star break, the team’s shown some momentum and has shown some good signs,” Knicks president Leon Rose said in an interview with team broadcaster, MSG Network, last season.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.