Jalen Brunson Reportedly decided before the free agency was officially opened to sign with the Knicks.
Is there any way New York didn’t mess with Brunson while he was still under contract with the Mavericks?
This situation has many layers. The Knicks hired Brunson’s father, Rick Brunson, as an assistant coach. Knick’s chairman Leon Rose is an old friend of the Brunsons’ family. Rose’s son, Sam Rose, is Jalen Brunson’s agent. Knicks executives William Wesley (“World Wide Wes”) and Allan Houston and forward Julius Randle participated in a Mavericks-Jazz playoff game in Dallas.
But this is also a classic case of a team losing a player and being angry about it.
From what I’ve heard, the Mavericks are pretty frustrated with the Knicks — and not just because the deal was reported to have come out before New York was even allowed to speak with Brunson (although I’m not sure how father-son relationship manipulation rules , and this situation includes two of those). Dallas was also unenthusiastic about Knicks director William “World Wide Wes” Wesley appearing on the field for a Mavs-Jazz playoff game.
People I talk to throughout the league expect the Knicks to be busted for tampering.
The manipulation of the NBA seems arbitrary. But a common aspect of sabotage cases: a team sues.
If the Mavericks are frustrated enough to file a complaint, the Knicks are more likely to be investigated.
Brunson could simply deny that the credible sounding report that turned out to be correct† He could argue that he didn’t hear from the Knicks until free agency opened and only then came to a decision – that The Athletic’s Shams Charania was wrong. If the Knicks have tampered with it, any family ties between them and Brunson increase the chances of there being no paper trail. It would have been easy enough to convey plans in face-to-face conversations that could be denied.
Besides, if the Knicks didn’t mess with it until after the season ends in Dallas, it’s hard to get excited about that. While that would technically violate the collective bargaining agreement, it doesn’t violate the spirit of why manipulation rules were originally implemented — to protect teams while they were still competing.
That said, there should be consistent enforcement. It’s unfair that only a few teams are penalized for breaking a rule that is practical universal broken†
In addition, the Knicks may have contacted Brunson during the Dallas season. That is much less accepted.
Or maybe the Knicks didn’t contact Brunson early at all. That burdens credulity, but it is possible. If the only evidence is that Knicks personnel attend the Mavericks playoff game, there is: precedent to allow that†
As for Brunson’s deal leaking early… Therefore, if the NBA takes a close look at the Knicks, the league must investigate all teams that have made deals with outside free agents within minutes of the free agency opening. They are practically like this incredible as New York’s settlement with Brunson.
More about the Knicks
Report: Knicks expected to be punished for tampering with Jalen Brunson originally appeared on NBCSports.com