Knicks Rumors: Jalen Brunson's Father Rick Hired as Assistant amid Free-Agency Buzz

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 2, 2022

DALLAS, TX - MAY 24: Jalen Brunson #13 of the Dallas Mavericks walks off the court after Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals  on May 24, 2022 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

The New York Knicks are reportedly finalizing a deal to sign Rick Brunson to serve as an assistant coach on Tom Thibodeau's staff, according to Ian Begley of SNY.

Brunson is the father of free-agent point guard Jalen Brunson, who is "on the Knicks' radar" this offseason, as the New York Post's Marc Berman reported in April.

Despite those potential links, Rick Brunson has a history with Thibodeau, serving as an assistant coach under him with the Chicago Bulls (2010-11 to 2011-12 seasons) and the Minnesota Timberwolves (2016-17 to 2017-18 seasons).

They have known each other since Brunson was at Salem High School in Massachusetts, per Begley, as Thibodeau was a coach at Salem State.

Brunson also served as an assistant for the Denver Nuggets (2006-07) and Charlotte Hornets (2012-13). He has been the head coach for Camden High School over the past three seasons in New Jersey.

Jalen Brunson, meanwhile, had a breakout season for the Dallas Mavericks in his fourth NBA season, averaging 16.3 points and 4.8 assists per game while shooting 50.2 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from three.

But he had some epic performances in the postseason, including a 41-point outburst in Game 2 of the team's first-round matchup with the Utah Jazz. He averaged 21.6 points per game in the postseason, helping the Mavericks reach the Western Conference Finals.

That performance guaranteed that Brunson is about to get paid in a major way.

Team governor Mark Cuban already expressed a desire to keep Brunson, adding in May that he believes the point guard wants to return to Dallas and that the Mavericks can offer him the most money.

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"I think he wants to stay, and that’s most important," he said. "I think, again, J-Kidd [head coach Jason Kidd] has a big part to play in that, I think J.B. blossomed as a player, as much as anybody on the squad, you know, from where he was last year to how far he came this year, is a tribute to Jalen and how hard he worked."

If Brunson decides he does want a change of scenery, though, the Knicks have a major need at point guard and would be a logical suitor. As Begley noted, Brunson was a player the Knicks were "interested in prior to the trade deadline."

And now they'll have the family connection as they make their pitch.