The New York Knicks just want to get back into playoff contention. After a surprising 2021 season where the Knicks finished fourth in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks struggled in the 2021-22 season amid efficiency troubles for Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, as well as the disappointing free agency additions of Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier. The Knicks will hope that signing Jalen Brunson, who broke out in the postseason with the Dallas Mavericks, to a four-year, $104 million deal, will help their cause.
If only it was that simple.
The Knicks are being investigated for potential tampering charges in their pursuit of Brunson during the offseason, and it makes sense, as the Knicks hired Jalen Brunson's father, Rick, as an assistant coach before free agency began. Stefan Bondy, the Knicks beat reporter for the New York Daily News, had an update on the ongoing investigations, revealing what the worst-case scenario for the Knicks could be if there were any evidence found of wrongdoing.
“The league has been investigating and has been for a while. At least one member of the Knicks’ organization has had their cell phone confiscated. It could be more, but I know of at least one,” Bondy told HoopsHype's Michael Scotto during a podcast. “I’ve heard in a worst-case scenario the Knicks will have to give up a draft pick should the league find that they did something egregious.”
Nonetheless, it'll be difficult for the league to prove any allegations, as Bondy noted.
“To me, it’s a big-time gray area. Are you going to tell a father that he can’t talk to his son about his future? If I were the Knicks, I would’ve had [Jalen] Brunson talk to the press and say something along those lines,” Bondy added.
Being forced to give up a first-round draft pick for the free agent signing of Jalen Brunson will hurt the Knicks for sure, but if he continues to play like the Brunson we saw in the postseason, it could very well be worth it. Jalen Brunson will have plenty of opportunity with the Knicks to match, or even surpass, the 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists he averaged in the 2022 playoffs.