The New York Knicks are expected to try and shake things up on their roster this summer, with very few players, if any, guaranteed to be on the roster next season as trade rumors swirl. At the top of their to-do list is finding a new starting point guard, as that position has remained a problem spot for years and is the biggest area of need.
The player the Knicks have been connected to most often is Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson, who had a terrific postseason to cement himself as one of the top free agent guards set to hit the market. Brunson has a connection to the Knicks through his father Rick, who played in Newy York in the late 90s and has worked with Tom Thibodeau in the past, and that has only further stoked rumors he could choose to bolt Dallas for the Garden this summer. Those rumblings certainly won’t be going away anytime soon, even as reports indicate the Mavs are prepared to offer whatever is needed to keep him, after a report from SNY’s Ian Begley emerged on Thursday that Rick Brunson is joining the Knicks coaching staff as an assistant.
The Knicks are finalizing a contract with Rick Brunson to become an assistant coach on Tom Thibodeau’s staff, SNY has learned. Brunson, a nine-year NBA veteran, has been an assistant coach under Thibodeau in Chicago and Minnesota. The deal is expected to be finalized in the coming days, per people familiar with the matter.
As Begley notes, Brunson, who has most recently been the head coach at Camden High School in New Jersey, has been an assistant for Tom Thibodeau on two separate occasions in Chicago and Minnesota, and will fill the vacancy left behind by Kenny Payne, who took the Louisville head coaching position earlier this year. As such, it’s not solely a play for Jalen to come to New York, as Thibodeau turning to a familiar face isn’t a shock, but the timing will certainly perk people’s ears up and it does feel an awful lot like when a player’s parent gets hired during the recruiting process at the college level.
What one does wonder is if Jalen wants to play for his father or not, as it’s not a guarantee this is something that would be a draw for the young guard. We’ll find out in early July whether this swings Brunson’s decision-making or not.