The New York Knicks finally have found their point guard.
Reports came out that former Dallas Mavericks floor general Jalen Brunson has agreed to a four-year, $104 million contract with the Knicks on Thursday.
Let us look at what this move means for all the parties involved.
Knicks Persistent Pursuit of Brunson Ends with Overpriced Contract
The Knicks made no secret of their interest in Brunson. During Game 1 of Dallas’ first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz, New York had a few members of their front office in attendance, most likely to scout the 25-year-old.
New York then proceeded to have one of the most bizarre draft nights in recent memory, making multiple trades with the end goal of shedding salary. The Knicks were successful from that standpoint, but they did not do anything to improve their roster.
Reports began circulating that New York was “all in” on signing Brunson, and the team made more moves to make more cap room. When it was all said and done, the Knicks put all their chips in the Brunson basket and gave him a contract well beyond his worth.
Brunson solidified a big payday for himself with an impressive postseason that saw him average 21.6 points on 46.6 percent shooting from the field. He is a promising player whose best days are ahead of him, but $104 million is a substantial amount to commit to someone who is not a franchise-changing player.
Brunson will undoubtedly bring some much-needed stability to the point guard position for New York. However, the Knicks will have many more holes to fill on their roster, so they may come to regret overpaying for a mid-level star.
Brunson Will Not Wither Under the Spotlight of New York
Brunson has spent his entire career playing in the shadow of three-time All-Star Luka Doncic, as both of them were drafted together in 2018. There is reportedly a belief that he has not had the chance to achieve his full potential while playing next to a superstar.
“I’ve talked to people in his circle. They think he has another level to reach that he just couldn’t reach with Dallas because he played with the most ball-dominant player in the league in Luka Doncic,” Chris Haynes mentioned.
Now, Brunson gets to step into the lead role that he craved as he heads to New York. While it will be his first time under the spotlight, Brunson is built for the pressure that comes with playing for a team like the Knicks.
A two-time NCAA champion with Villanova, Brunson’s winning mentality will help carry him through the woes of playing for a middling franchise. It will not be a quick turnaround for the Knicks to return to success, but Brunson is the type of player who is prepared for the grind.
New York has more to do before it can be considered to be among the playoff contenders in the vaunted Eastern Conference. However, having Brunson at the helm gives the team a strong piece that will help spearhead the rebuild.
Mavs Need to Find a Reliable Second Option to Pair with Doncic
While Brunson is not a game-changer, his presence will be sorely missed in Dallas. He was a large part of the team’s surprising postseason run to the Western Conference Finals thanks to his reliability while Doncic missed time.
The Mavericks have a bonafide superstar in Doncic, but he cannot carry the team by himself. Dallas needs a second option next to him who can be depended on to produce consistently.
Right now, the Mavs do not have that player on their roster. Dallas acquired promising 26-year-old big man Christian Wood from the Houston Rockets on draft night, but it remains to be seen if he can be a difference-maker. Veteran point guard Spencer Dinwiddie is not the player he once was, but he showed flashes of brilliance during the playoffs. Reggie Bullock, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dorian Finney-Smith are fine rotation players, but what Dallas needs is a star.
For example, the Atlanta Hawks acquired Dejounte Murray on Wednesday to pair with star point guard Trae Young, which is a move that instantly gives the team one of the best backcourt duos in the NBA. The Mavs need to make a similar splash if they want to duplicate the success of this past season. Finding a secondary option to put next to Doncic should be the team’s top priority this offseason.