Can the Knicks steal Jalen Brunson from the Dallas Mavericks?

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Mavericks want Jalen Brunson. Jalen Brunson wants the Dallas Mavericks. So there’s no reason to think a deal won’t get done that will keep Brunson in Dallas for the next half-decade, right?

Those who have been around a while, know there’s a lot more to this song and dance than mutual desire. Money and circumstances play a large role in free agency as well. And the New York Knicks, my friends, have a whole lotta money and are changing their circumstances as we speak…

Free agent Jalen Brunson is going to be aggressively pursued by both the Dallas Mavericks and the New York Knicks

While Dallas was making the final moves to make the Christian Wood trade official, New York was busy clearing cap room and ill-fitting roster pieces to make room for their top free agent target: Jalen Brunson.

The Knicks have made no secret their intention to pursue Brunson, they even hired Rick Brunson, Jalen’s father, as an assistant coach.  With more cap clearing on the way, New York promises to offer the biggest deal they can possibly offer to bring Jalen to NYC.

Can the Mavs do enough to keep him?

The short answer, “yes.”

The Dallas Mavericks have a decided advantage in this situation. Not only do they have the developed relationship with Brunson but they have an extra contract year that benefits the incumbent team. In other words, the Mavs can pay Brunson more than the Knicks.

Over the course of the contract, roughly $30 million more.

For a guy that made $1.9M last season, that’s not chump change. If Brunson hated Dallas, hated his coach, and hated his team, it might be an amount he’d be willing to turn up his nose on. But things are good in Dallas, and Brunson has expressed his desire to stick around. In fact, Brunson said if money is equal, he’ll stay.

The Knicks know they are in an up-hill battle, but for lack of better options, are willing to take a stab in the dark here.

The Knicks moves are not inconsequential, I must say. They are essentially setting the market for Brunson. As much room as they can clear, will be the first year going rate. Brunson is unlikely to pull in those max deals many outlets are talking about because the Knicks won’t be able to believably reach those heights.

It comes down to this: Whatever offer the Knicks make, the Dallas Mavericks will match. With the annual five percent increases and the extra year of guaranteed money, Dallas’ offer would be comfortably over $30M than whatever the Knicks put together.

Must Read. The Christian Wood effect on the Mavs. light

All this and we didn’t even talk about the disfunction in New York compared to the harmony in Dallas. Chances of Brunson staying in Dallas: I put it at 90%