Jalen Brunson landed a four-year, $104MM contract with the Knicks this summer, but he didn’t enjoy the free agency experience, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Brunson was among the top free agents in this year’s market and the rumors that he was headed to New York started before last season was over, but all the attention made him uncomfortable.
“Free agency was kind of awful, how public it got,” Brunson said at Media Day. “Not going to lie to you. For me, I’m a very simple person. I loved the opportunity to come back east, in a familiar area where I grew up, somewhat close. I’m just really excited for this opportunity with these guys. I think we can do something special.”
Reports that Brunson was joining the Knicks emerged before free agency officially opened on June 30, resulting in an NBA investigation of the team for possible tampering. Brunson said he hasn’t been contacted by the league, but he contends that “a lot of things” about his situation were misreported.
“My reaction to the league investigating? I didn’t really have one,” he said. “Nothing really to investigate.”
There’s more from New York:
- Coming off a difficult season, Julius Randle spent some time away from the game this summer to recalibrate, Bondy adds in the same piece. He lost weight during the offseason and reported to camp with a fresh outlook. “When it’s good, it’s easy to be a leader,” Randle said. “When things aren’t as good and you’re going through adversity, I think it’s even more important. So, I learned a lot.”
- Also noticeably lighter was Derrick Rose, who dropped about 20 pounds in response to a challenge from head coach Tom Thibodeau, Bondy states in a separate story. Rose also explained the complications that prevented him from returning after undergoing ankle surgery in mid-December and responded to a statement from team president Leon Rose, who called him the “heart and soul” of the group that reached the playoffs in 2020/21. “I wouldn’t say I was the heart and soul, but I wanted to win. I can say that,” Derrick Rose said. “I think what this year’s all about is accountability. Like being able to not get in your feelings or taking it personal when somebody comes over and gives you constructive criticism. As a man and as a professional, you’re supposed to understand that.”
- Thibodeau named Evan Fournier as the frontrunner to start at shooting guard heading into camp, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.tv. “With Jalen, with RJ (Barrett), with Julius we need shooting (at the two),” Thibodeau explained.