The New York Knicks went to the wrong Dallas Mavericks-Utah Jazz game to scout future potential talent. Knicks executives, as well as Julius Randle, were in Dallas for the first game of the playoff series but unfortunately missed out on sitting courtside for Jalen Brunson’s phenomenal outing on Tuesday night.
Without injured Luka Doncic, the Mavericks were down 0-1 after Saturday’s 99-93 loss. At risk of traveling to Utah down 0-2, Brunson put the team on his back with a career-high 41 points (15-of-25) in 42 minutes.
The 25-year-old was selected by Dallas as the No. 33 overall pick in the 2018 draft and shortly thereafter signed a four-year, $6.1 million contract. Unless the Mavericks re-sign him to an extension by the end of June, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Brunson was expected to garner enough attention as is, but with the additional scouting eyes that have been on him in the playoffs, he’s going to be a popular free agent. The catch is that maybe he could end up being too popular to land in New York City.
Is Jalen Brunson going to play his way out of a New York Knicks contract?
The Knicks have needed a true point guard for 20 years now and that major gap was highlighted this past year after Derrick Rose went down with an ankle injury.
Alec Burks was chosen by Tom Thibodeau to take Rose’s place, and although it was clearly a failed experiment from the start, Thibodeau was too stubborn to play Immanuel Quickley or Miles McBride more frequently.
We all got to witness the tear that Quickley went on to end the season for New York once it became official that the Knicks were eliminated from the playoffs.
The 22-year-old’s become even more of a fan favorite and there are plenty of people who are confident in his abilities to take over as point guard next year. That’s become even more important now, especially since Brunson could be in the process of commanding his way to a larger contract.
However, the Brunson option isn’t off the table, which is presumably part of the reason why New York executives were in attendance this past weekend.
It’s been rumored that the guard is going to look for a deal in the realm of four years for $80 million, and it could end up being even more than that.
Along with the point guard’s 41-point performance, Brunson recorded five assists and put his name in the history books. He became the first player in franchise history to score that many points while not recording a single turnover in a postseason game. That’s impressive.
As for now, Knicks fans will get to enjoy watching him perform at a high level in the playoffs (although that could end up being bad for New York) but will have to wait and see what happens in terms of his future.