The New York Knicks are reportedly expected to make a run at signing Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson in free agency.
According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.com, rival NBA executives believe the Knicks are "all in" on signing Brunson based on some of the moves they have made thus far.
Those moves included dealing veteran guard Kemba Walker to the Detroit Pistons as part of a three-team trade during the 2022 NBA draft on Thursday in order to clear salary-cap space.
NBA insider Marc Stein supported Scotto's report, noting the Knicks are "gaining major momentum" in their bid to sign Brunson.
Stein noted that in addition to trading Walker, there is a "growing belief" they can dump even more salary, allowing them to make an expected offer in the range of $100 million over four years to Brunson.
While New York would be a good fit for Brunson as a top scoring option, he also has some major ties to the organization.
Brunson's former agent, Leon Rose, is the Knicks' team president. Also, the Knicks recently hired Brunson's father, former NBA player Rick Brunson, as an assistant coach.
Last season was the 25-year-old Brunson's fourth in the NBA, and it represented a true breakout, as he set career highs in most major categories.
Starting 61 of the 79 regular-season games he appeared in, Brunson averaged 16.3 points, 4.8 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 three-pointers made while shooting 50.2 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from beyond the arc.
The 2018 second-round pick out of Villanova was even better during the Mavs' playoff run to the Western Conference Finals, averaging 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.4 trifectas made. He also shot 46.6 percent from the floor and 34.7 percent from three-point range.
Mavericks superstar guard Luka Doncic missed the first three games of Dallas' first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz because of injury, but Brunson stepped up in a big way in those contests.
In addition to leading the Mavs to two wins in those three games, he averaged a remarkable 32.0 points, 5.3 assists and 5.3 rebounds.
Although it was a small sample, Brunson proved what he can do as the No. 1 guy, and that likely played a role in enticing the Knicks to go after him.
In New York, the backcourt would essentially belong to Brunson, with wing RJ Barrett and forward Julius Randle representing the other top scoring options.
The Knicks are coming off a disappointing 37-45 season after reaching the playoffs in 2020-21. While Brunson likely wouldn't be enough to make them championship contenders, they would at least be back in the playoff mix if he plays anything like he did during the 2022 postseason.