The New York Knicks are prepared to go above and beyond to sign Jalen Brunson.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday on SportsCenter the Knicks might be willing to clear enough salary cap space to table a four-year offer worth around $110 million to Brunson:
ESPN's Tim MacMahon confirmed Wojnarowski's scoop.
The Knicks' interest in Brunson isn't a secret.
NBA insider Marc Stein reported on June 24 New York was "gaining major momentum" to sign Brunson away from the Dallas Mavericks:
"Sources say that New York's ability during Thursday night's NBA Draft to offload Kemba Walker's $9.2 million salary for next season, coupled with a growing belief that it can shed further salary to expand its offer when the marketplace officially opens next Thursday, has established the Knicks as a very credible threat to bring Brunson to Gotham."
Stein added the Knicks were "increasingly expected to assemble a four-year offer to Brunson valued in the $100 million range."
It doesn't appear the franchise was all that enamored with the idea of landing Kyrie Irving. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Los Angeles Lakers were the only suitor seriously weighing a sign-and-trade for Irving, who plans on returning to the Brooklyn Nets anyway.
With Irving off the board, Brunson becomes the best point guard on the market.
Given the price he's likely to command, there's obviously some risk in signing a player who only became a regular starter this past season. But Brunson's performance, especially in the playoffs, raised his profile significantly.
The 25-year-old averaged 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 18 postseason contests. Without Luka Doncic in the lineup, he dropped a career-high 41 points in a first-round win over the Utah Jazz.
Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported on his Posted Up podcast that some around Brunson "think he has another level to reach that he just couldn't reach with Dallas because he played with the most ball-dominant player in the league in [Doncic]."
There's no question Brunson would have the opportunity to flourish in the Big Apple because neither Julius Randle nor RJ Barrett would get in his way too much.
Given their recent history in free agency, the Knicks are bound to face some skepticism if they ultimately sign Brunson for nine figures. Maybe this past year was a bit of a blip and the southpaw is merely a pretty good point guard and doesn't have any untapped potential to mine.
But New York seems to have put all of its eggs in the Brunson basket, so striking out this offseason would mean yet another summer in which the franchise has failed to achieve its free agency goals.