The New York Knicks landed a big free agent when they signed guard Jalen Brunson to a four-year contract, but they may have hammered out a deal with him before they were permitted to do so.
Brunson agreed to a four-year, $110 million contract with the Knicks at the start of free agency last week. There were reports that his previous team, the Dallas Mavericks, never even had a chance to match the offer. New York also began shedding salary the night of the NBA Draft and continued dumping players in the days before free agency began on June 30. Many believe the way the Knicks operated proves they had a verbal agreement in place with Brunson.
Fred Katz of The Athletic wrote on Monday that people around the NBA expect the Knicks to be disciplined for tampering.
Katz also said the Mavericks were frustrated with the Knicks hanging around Brunson long before free agency. Knicks executive William Wesley sat courtside for one of the Mavs’ playoff games against the Utah Jazz. The belief is that he was there for Brunson.
Tampering is generally difficult to prove. If the league does feel there was illegal communication and/or negotiating between the Knicks and Brunson, New York will likely lose a future second-round pick. The Knicks will probably feel that was worth it to bolster their backcourt with a 25-year-old player who averaged 16.3 points per game last season.