The worst kept secret this NBA offseason was that Jalen Brunson would land in New York. And, now, it looks like that will cost the Knicks.
In a recent conversation alongside Tim Cato, The Athletic’s Fred Katz reported that folks behind the scenes believe New York will receive a tampering penalty in the coming months:
People I talk to around the league expect the Knicks to get dinged for tampering. They started dumping salary for Brunson on draft night. They continued their offloading five days later, 48 hours before free agency even began. They had let go of almost $33 million by the time they could talk to Brunson. You reported two days before free agency that he was heading to New York.
Not only did the presence of Knicks’ executive William “World Wide Wes” Wesley at a Mavs playoff game raise eyebrows, but the hiring of Brunson’s father back in June felt like it paved the way for the Knicks’ pursuit. We also saw the organization recently trade Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks to Detroit – as well as their No. 11 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft – in an effort to keep their books clean to hand Brunson a hefty contract.
And multiple reporters did the Knicks’ front office no favors by suggesting *before free agency officially opened* that Brunson was in line to sign with the franchise:
I think it’s fair to say Brunson’s decision to sign with New York had been even more public in the days leading up to free agency than what we saw between the Bulls and Ball last summer. Now, whether or not the more public nature of the conversations will lead to a more severe punishment is up for debate. But I think it’s obvious some sort of punishment is on the horizon, right? I mean, if the Bulls get a second-round pick stripped away for their chatter, then New York should *at least* face the same fate.
Announce the investigation, Adam Silver.