As the NBA continues its investigation into the timing of the Knicks‘ free agent acquisition of point guard Jalen Brunson, Fred Katz of The Athletic parses through the extant evidence. Rumors ahead of 2022 free agency suggested Brunson would leave the Mavericks for the Knicks to the tune of a fresh four-year, $104MM deal. When that chatter proved to be true, the league opted to look into just what transpired, and when.
Katz notes that it’s difficult to discern just what kind of pre-free agency conversations the NBA will frown upon, in part given the fact that Jalen’s father, former New York point guard Rick Brunson, was hired as an assistant coach under Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau in June. Knicks team president Leon Rose, once an NBA agent representing Rick, has known both Brunsons for decades.
Last year, the league opted to penalize the Bulls and Heat for what it perceived to be tampering violations in their 2021 sign-and-trade moves for Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry, respectively. Each team was forced to surrender an upcoming second-round pick. This year, in addition to the Knicks, the NBA is also investigating the Sixers for possible tampering violations.
There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:
- When Nets point guard Kyrie Irving returned to his native New Jersey for his pro-am “More Than A Run” All-Star Game at Kean University, Brooklyn made a point to showcase the moment on the team’s official social media platforms. In an effort to read the tea leaves, Adam Zagoria of NJ.com suggests that it appears to be increasingly possible Irving returns to Brooklyn this fall, rather than being offloaded in a trade ahead of the season. Kyrie’s teammates Kessler Edwards, David Duke Jr., and Royce O’Neale were all in attendance at the New Jersey event.
- Heat point guard Kyle Lowry, at some point during his successful run with the Raptors, attempted to lure Vince Carter back to Toronto, Lowry revealed on Carter’s podcast The Vince Carter Show (Twitter video link via Uninterrupted Canada). “I tried to get Vince back with us at one point,” Lowry said. “We had conversations,” Carter confirmed. “We tried to get it done, it didn’t work out,” Lowry continued. “I was one of the biggest advocates that tried to get him back in Toronto and Vince was all-in.” It is unclear exactly when this recruitment transpired, but presumably this came fairly late in Carter’s illustrious career. The Raptors originally drafted Carter with the fifth pick out of North Carolina. The 6’6″ wing was named to his first five All-Star teams while with Toronto, before eventually being traded to the Nets in the midst of what was to be his sixth consecutive All-Star season in 2004/05. An eight-time All-Star overall, Carter would go on to play for an NBA-record 22 seasons. He finally retired at age 43 in 2020, following a two-year stint as a bench role player with the Hawks.
- In case you missed it, 6’11” Serbian power forward/center Filip Petrusev, who was drafted with the No. 50 pick by the Sixers in 2021, expressed confidence in Philadelphia’s developmental plan for him. Petrusev, a native Serbian, will suit up for Serbian club Crvena Zvezda during the 2022/23 season.