Reporter reveals Jalen Brunson has major incentive to sign 2024 Knicks extension

On Friday, Brunson will be eligible to sign an extension.
New York Knicks, Jalen Brunson
New York Knicks, Jalen Brunson / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Now that the main part of free agency is in the rearview mirror, it's time for New York Knicks fans to shift their attention toward Jalen Brunson. As of Friday, the star point guard will be eligible to sign an extension with the Knicks, but he could wait until 2025 free agency to sign a more lucrative deal.

If Brunson signs an extension this summer, the most he could get is $156.5 million across four years. If he waits until next summer, he could get $269.1 million over five years. It doesn't take a mathematician to determine which deal Brunson would give him more money.

Fred Katz of The Athletic published a piece analyzing both paths Brunson could take (subscription required). He said that Brunson is still considering signing a new deal this offseason, which Newsday's Steve Popper first reported earlier this year. Brunson would be doing the Knicks front office a solid favor by signing this summer, but it's a move that would benefit him in the long run.

Fred Katz outlines strategy behind Jalen Brunson potentially signing extension this summer

Brunson is already one of the most beloved figures in Knicks history for his work the past two seasons, but he'd become even more beloved if he signs a deal this offseason. NBA stars sometimes take pay cuts, but none leave that much money on the table. There could be a method behind Brunson doing so.

If the guard signs a new four-year deal this summer with a player option in the final season, he'd hit free agency in 2028.

"In 2025, Brunson would be able to sign the 30 percent max. But in 2028, his 35 percent max, which will come under a higher salary cap, would be worth a projected $417.8 million over five years.

That deal would start with a $72 million salary and end with (yes, we double-checked the math on this) a $95.1 million one. The cap is growing, and money is beginning to look fake with the NBA’s new broadcast deal about to kick in."

Fred Katz, The Athletic

Katz explained it perfectly. If Brunson signs a new deal with a player option, it will coincide with the end of his 10th season in the NBA, when he'd be eligible to sign a supermax worth up to 35 percent of the cap.

Make no mistake, though. While Brunson would set himself up nicely for 2028 if he signs an extension this summer, he'd also help the Knicks avoid the second tax apron. It could turn into a win-win scenario for both sides, although it'd take a few years for it to (literally) pay off for Brunson.

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