New York Knicks fans, you knew that this was going to be a topic of discussion after Jalen Brunson agreed to a four-year, $104 million contract with New York in free agency. Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks let Brunson slip through their fingers, and perhaps the Knicks being hit with a tampering penalty would help the Mavericks cope with their failure.
In the hour leading up to the start of free agency last Thursday, Shams Charania reported that Brunson intended to sign a four-year, $110 million contract with New York.
The night before the start of free agency, it was reported that Brunson was going to meet with the Knicks, Mavericks, and the Miami Heat. The latter reportedly ended up being untrue, and shortly before free agency began, it was reported that the guard wasn’t going to meet with Dallas. That all but solidified the fact that he was going to be a Knick.
According to The Athletic’s Fred Katz (subscription required), people that he’s spoken with “expect the Knicks to get dinged for tampering.” However, finding New York guilty of tampering is going to be complicated for more than one reason.
The Knicks could be hit with a tampering penalty for their pursuit of Jalen Brunson
As Katz noted, how do you police not one father-son relationship, but two? Over a month ago, it was reported that the Knicks were finalizing a contract with Rick Brunson, the team’s newest assistant coach (and Jalen’s father). That’s on top of Leon Rose’s son, Sam, working as Brunson’s CAA agent.
And you know by now that Leon is Jalen’s godfather, so the two families have been close. After the Brunson signing became official, Rose’s daughter expressed her excitement on Instagram.
But we have also known that Dallas was displeased that William Wesley, Allan Houston, and Julius Randle were in attendance for Game 1 of the Mavericks-Jazz first-round playoff series. However, the NBA can’t punish the Knicks for simply attending a game.
Dallas’ frustration makes sense, though. Why would it not? The organization just lost a key piece of their run to the Western Conference Finals, and they don’t have the cap space to fill the void that Brunson left behind. Unless a sign-and-trade deal materializes (which is an idea that Katz mentioned), the Mavericks are going to be left with nothing.
Yet, just because Dallas is frustrated doesn’t mean that New York should be hit with a tampering charge. Some Mavericks fans are screaming that all of the signs are there, but again, you can’t restrict a father-son from communicating. Or two extremely close families for being on the same page. This is uncharted territory.
If the league wants to please Cuban and Dallas, though, a tampering penalty could be on the horizon for New York. Miami and Chicago were each docked a second-round pick in the 2022 draft for tampering charges regarding Kyle Lowry and Lonzo Ball. If the Knicks are hit with a tampering penalty, they’ll likely also lose a second-round pick.
Should it happen? Eh, no. Yes, teams have to give off the impression that they’re playing by the “rules”, but New York presents a unique case in this regard. The stars lined up just right for Jalen, his father, Leon, and his son.