The New York Knicks are coming off a disappointing 2021-’22 season, confident that landing an impact point guard will turn things around. While moving up to select Jaden Ivey with the No. 4 pick is a goal, impending free-agent guard Jalen Brunson also seems to be a top priority.
New York’s interest in Brunson isn’t a surprise. Reports surfaced in April that he would be the organization’s top target. The Dallas Mavericks badly want to keep him and they are in a good position to re-sign him. However, that isn’t going to stop the Knicks from making a serious run at the rising guard.
The 25-year-old guard is an unrestricted free agent, clearing a potential path for another NBA team to steal him from Dallas. It’s going to prove costly, with the asking price on a multi-year deal likely starting at $85 million.
Bracing for that hefty contract, it seems the Knicks are already evaluating potential avenues to make cap space so they can afford to add one of the top NBA free agents this summer.
According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, New York is exploring a variety of moves so it can create $25 million in cap room to pursue Brunson this summer.
Of course, Brunson isn’t the only guard New York intends to pursue. It also wants to make a run at Kyrie Irving, who is now open to testing free agency. While he would be the best addition to the team, the Knicks would need to create even more cap space to afford him.
As recent NBA history has shown, moving on from players like Alex Burks and Nerlens Noel will be financially-driven decisions. Clearing Noel ($9.24 million) and Burks ($10 million) off the 2022-’23 payroll won’t net anything more than second-round picks in a potential deal.
Related: New York Knicks eyeing No. 4 pick
New York will certainly explore deals involving its highest-paid players, with Julius Randle ($23.76 million) an obvious trade candidate. If the front office is being realistic, though, Randle’s value might be at a point where he provides more on-court value than if he is traded at his lowest value.
Expect the Knicks to make trading up for Ivey their first priority. If that fails, then fans can look forward to some role players being shipped out on draft night in moves to create financial wiggle room.