Stein: NBA Likely to Look at Knicks' Hiring of Jalen Brunson's Dad in Tampering Case

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 6, 2022

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

NBA reporter Marc Stein believes the NBA is "likely to take a deeper look" at the New York Knicks' reported hiring of Rick Brunson to Tom Thibodeau's staff this offseason.

Brunson is the father of Jalen Brunson, who has reportedly agreed to a four-year, $104 million contract with the Knicks.

On Monday, Fred Katz of The Athletic reported that "people I talk to around the league expect the Knicks to get dinged for tampering," adding that the Dallas Mavericks—Brunson's former team—were "quite frustrated" with the Knicks.

He noted that the Mavs weren't thrilled that "reports of a finished deal came out before New York was even allowed to speak with Brunson," though they also reportedly didn't like that Knicks' executive vice president and senior basketball advisor William "World Wide Wes" Wesley sat courtside at a Mavs playoff game in the team's series against the Utah Jazz.

Add in the reported hiring of Brunson's father to the coaching staff, and it isn't hard to see how the NBA will have the basis for at least investigating the possibility of tampering.

The Knicks' entire offseason seemed built around signing the 25-year-old point guard. They cleared around $14 million in cap space in three separate draft-night trades, and days later cleared another $19.2 million by sending Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel to the Detroit Pistons in a deal.

Brunson took a major step forward in the 2021-22 season, averaging career highs in points (16.3), assists (4.8), rebounds (3.9), starts (61) and minutes per game (31.9). He was even better in the playoffs, averaging 21.6 points per contest and helping lead the Mavericks to the Western Conference Finals despite Luka Doncic missing a few games in that run due to injury.

The Knicks have made a significant gamble on Brunson continuing his development. They may have also tipped their hand in that pursuit enough that the NBA will sniff around the process for potential tampering charges.


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