Tyrese Haliburton

Pacers’ Buchanan Talks Turner, Rebuild, Haliburton, Smith

Appearing on the Kevin & Query show on 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis on Wednesday, Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan said Myles Turner will be on the team’s roster when the regular season tips off, indicating that he doesn’t expect the veteran center to be on the move before opening night.

Buchanan tacitly acknowledged that the Pacers have had trade discussions about Turner since last season ended, telling the hosts that the front office is “always going to have to listen if teams call.” However, he said the 26-year-old “handled everything like a pro.”

“Myles knows this is part of the business,” Buchanan said. “We’ve communicated with him all summer on what was going on. We do that with our players, we’ve very transparent with them. He understood that part of it. Maybe he didn’t always like it, but he understood it.”

Because he’s entering a contract year and the Pacers have embarked on a rebuild, Turner has been widely viewed as a logical trade candidate. Still, Buchanan pointed out that the shot-blocking center – who is also extension-eligible – is a nice fit on the current roster, especially now that Domantas Sabonis is no longer in the picture and the team has added play-making guards like Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin.

“It’s always going to be our job to listen if it helps improve the team, but Myles (fits) with this team, with a young group of guys – especially a young group of guards – that need some defensive protection behind them, that need some experience with them in the locker room,” Buchanan said. “His shooting, it really fits with a lot of our young guards, and so from a basketball standpoint, he’s an outstanding fit on the court for us.

“… Domas is no longer with us, (Turner has) got the starting center position, he’s playing with a great young guard in Tyrese, with a coach that believes in him, so he’s set up to have an opportunity to have a great season and that puts him in a great spot next summer (in free agency). We’ve got to weigh those conversations with Myles throughout the year, with his agent throughout the year, and evaluate how he fits with our young guards, because we haven’t seen him with Tyrese. We think it’s going to fit well, but we want to see what it looks like before we make some of those calls. I’m sure Myles wants to do the same thing on his end, it’s just part of the business.”

Here are a few more of Buchanan’s most noteworthy comments from his radio appearance:

On when the Pacers – long opposed to tanking – made the decision to rebuild:

“I think we felt that moment coming as the (2021/22) season started and we had injuries, and we just couldn’t gain any momentum. … For me personally, the game on New Year’s Eve when DeMar DeRozan throws in a running one-foot three-pointer, that felt like a dagger to me, just (for) that group and our season. It was time for a new path. The Pacers have always prided themselves on being competitive, being a playoff-caliber team. It was time for us to try something new. That group had reached its ceiling with its health, with its on-court play and success.”

On whether the Pacers will be stressing their place in the standings this season:

“I don’t think focusing on the wins and losses is appropriate with a young team. We want to see growth from start to finish. You’re going to have peaks and valleys. We’ve talked a lot about having calm waters around our team and not reacting to the highs or the lows too much. … We want to see growth from October to January to March to the end of the offseason, we want to see a trajectory of positive momentum. With a young team, that’s what you want.”

On whether the Suns – who built around lottery picks Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Deandre Ayton, and Cameron Johnson – are a good blueprint for the Pacers to follow:

“I think you’re spot on. Phoenix is a good example. I think Memphis and Cleveland are the other two examples that we look at. They have a couple high draft picks that they’ve hit on (and) they’ve drafted well late in the first round.”

On Haliburton entering his first full season in Indiana:

“I think Tyrese is ready to take the next step in his play. He’s more comfortable in his surroundings, he’s more comfortable with his teammates. I think we’re going to see a big jump from Tyrese this year, which I’m excited to see.”

On the Pacers’ expectations for Jalen Smith after he re-signed with the team:

“Jalen had a phenomenal summer. He was back in Baltimore training, and came back about two weeks ago and just floored everybody in the gym with some of the things he’s doing now. We’re super excited about how his game is expanding. … Him next to Myles brings us two shot blockers, two guys that can really stretch the floor and make shots, which helps our guards.

“Jalen, I think you’ll see, has added more dimensions to his game offensively, where he’s putting the ball on the floor a little bit, creating his own shot a little more. The challenge will be Jalen defending on the perimeter. That’ll be the thing that he’s really got to continue to develop on, and that’s what he worked all summer on. That’s a big thing we talked to him about when we signed him. As a power forward, your responsibilities are different than a center.”

Central Notes: Giannis, Mamukelashvili, Bulls, Pacers

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo exited Greece’s 90-69 win over Estonia on Thursday early due to what the Greek team is referring to as a “light” right ankle sprain, per John Rammas of Eurohoops. Although Antetokounmpo checked out in the third quarter and didn’t return, the injury isn’t viewed as serious.

According to an Associated Press report (via ESPN), Greece’s head coach, Dimitrios Itoudis, said after the game that the Bucks forward received ice and treatment. However, it doesn’t sound like Giannis’ availability for the upcoming single-elimination stage of EuroBasket is in jeopardy. “It’s all good,” Itoudis said.

Here’s more from around the Central Division:

  • Eric Nehm of The Athletic checks in on how the Bucks‘ international players have been performing at EuroBasket 2022. While Antetokounmpo has obviously excelled, Milwaukee is also presumably encouraged by the play of two-way forward Sandro Mamukelashvili, who averaged 15.2 PPG and 11.0 RPG in the group stage for Georgia.
  • Given that Lonzo Ball‘s lengthy injury absence last season hurt the Bulls on both ends of the court, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic wonders if the team is better built to withstand a Ball injury in 2022/23. A recent report indicated that Chicago’s starting point guard may not be ready for the start of the regular season due to a lingering knee issue.
  • The Pacers have hired Isaac Yacob as their head video coordinator, sources tell Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (subscription required). According to Agness, Yacob – who previously worked for the Kings – built a strong rapport with Tyrese Haliburton in Sacramento.
  • In case you missed it, we’re asking you to vote on the projected win totals of all five Central teams for the 2022/23 season.

Pacers’ Tyrese Haliburton On Goals, Future, Trade, More

Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton has been working hard this summer with trainer Drew Hanlen in order to become a more aggressive scorer, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball News, who recently had an in-depth interview with Haliburton that also features Indiana’s general manager, Chad Buchanan.

The 22-year-old had a very impressive 26-game stint with the Pacers last season after being traded by the Kings in February, averaging 17.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 9.6 APG and 1.8 SPG on .502/.416/.849 shooting in 36.1 MPG. Entering his third season, he says he hopes to boost those numbers even more in 2022/23.

I want to be a 20-and-10 guy and I want to be an All-Star,” Haliburton said. “Those are two personal goals for me that, I think, are attainable. I definitely think [I can accomplish that], for sure. I think I had that ability last year, and there was a span where I was doing that, so I think that naturally, I just have that ability. But now it’s just making that shift mentality-wise. I truthfully think 8, 9, 10 assists, that just happens for me playing basketball. I feel like I’m just a facilitator by nature, like, that just happens.

But I think for me, it’s just getting more field-goal attempts, getting to the free-throw line more — I think I had like 30 games last year with no free throws, so I’m paying attention to that — and just figuring out different nuances and different ways to score the basketball. That’s just gonna allow me to elevate my game to a new level.”

Here are a few more highlights from Kennedy’s interview, which is worth checking out in full for any fans of Haliburton and/or the Pacers.

Buchanan on Haliburton being Indiana’s centerpiece:

We’re gonna build our team around him. We see him as hopefully being the next Reggie Miller. We had a Reggie Miller mural painted on a building in downtown Indianapolis, and I think our dream is that one day Tyrese will have [his own] up somewhere in downtown Indianapolis.”

Haliburton on hopefully emulating the Grizzlies and developing the young roster over time:

Man, I’m really excited about (the Pacers’ long-term potential). I’m really excited about the opportunity to build something young and starting from scratch, it feels. I think what Memphis has done is kinda what every young team is aspiring to do — have a bunch of young pieces that grow together, draft well and then compete for a championship. That’s big for me — to be able to kind of start from scratch and be a part of that culture building and everything that comes with it… I think that’s just the fun part about it, just being so young and getting to grow together, I think that’s really exciting.”

On using the trade as motivation:

I think for the rest of my career, that [trade] is in my head, right? I think the great ones take little things, negative things and run with them. It’s funny — when I do things well, people are always like, ‘Look at what the Kings did!’ I love that stuff. That’s what I love. My whole life, I just love proving people wrong… Everything I do, I just want it to be like, ‘[Look at what the Kings did]!’

Eastern Notes: Lowry, Murray, Banchero, Grant, Turner

Kyle Lowry‘s name has surfaced in trade rumors, mainly due to the Heat’s interest in Kevin Durant. In a recent podcast with longtime NBA All-Star Vince Carter, Lowry says he doesn’t feel the need to address trade talk (hat tip to Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald).

“I hear it. I don’t respond to it,” Lowry said. “I have my social media, but I’m not even on my social media right now, to be honest with you. I only did this interview because you’re my man.”

Lowry’s salary could prove valuable if Miami is successful in dealing for Durant or another high-priced star such as Donovan Mitchell. Lowry, who is entering the second year of a three-year, $85MM contract, has not considered retirement, saying he’ll play “until I can’t.”

“This is how I think personally. When you tell your brain something, it starts to do it,” he said. “So for me, I’ll say: ‘I’m going until I can’t.’ Why not? Until I don’t want to wake up at 5 or 6 in the morning to go work out.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • New Hawks guard Dejounte Murray and the draft’s top pick, the Magic’s Paolo Banchero, exchanged words on and off the court after taking the court at Isaiah Thomas‘ annual summer pro-am, Kurt Helin of NBC Sports relays. Murray faked out Banchero before doing a self alley-oop, then took to social media to give the rookie more grief. Banchero responded by saying that Murray had unfollowed him, while adding some choices words of his own.
  • When the Pistons signed Jerami Grant to a three-year contract two years ago as a free agent, many observers were baffled as to why the rebuilding team took that route. In hindsight, it worked out quite well for Detroit, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. Grant’s professionalism and work ethic rubbed off on the Pistons’ young players and the subsequent trade with Portland this summer helped GM Troy Weaver make a draft-night deal for lottery pick Jalen Duren.
  • Despite being the subject of trade rumors for months, Pacers center Myles Turner loves Indiana and is excited to play with Tyrese Haliburton, according to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto. Haliburton is the first true pass-first point guard Turner has played with, Scotto notes. Turner is entering his walk year and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Central Notes: I. Mobley, Pistons, Haliburton, Pacers

Cavaliers rookie two-way player Isaiah Mobley, older brother to 2022 All-Rookie Cleveland center Evan Mobley, enjoyed an impressive Summer League turn. Now, the Cleveland front office is optimistic that the elder Mobley can make an impact on the team’s regular season roster as well, writes Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. He finished his first Summer League experience with a 15-point, 10-rebound game against the Hawks.

The Cavaliers, who finished with their first winning record in four years during the 2021/22 season, drafted the 22-year-old power forward out of USC with the No. 49 pick last month and signed him to a two-way contract. Despite an inconsistent jumper, Mobley was able to aid the Cavaliers’ Summer League roster on the court through playmaking in short stints, grabbing boards, and blocking opponents on defense.

“I mean, he’s comfortable with the ball in his hands,” Summer League head coach Mike Gerrity, an assistant under head coach J.B. Bickerstaff during the regular season, said of Mobley. “So we’re trying to put it in his hands at times to allow him to make the plays. And I think when him and [first-round lottery pick] Ochai [Agbaji] are coming into the dribble-handoff, it’s a really lethal combination, especially out here in summer league. And so, he’s growing, and he’s learning, just like the rest of these guys. But just his decision-making, his ability to make passes, make the right reads, and he’s an unselfish player.”

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • After spending the past three seasons languishing with lottery-bound young rosters, the Pistons‘ front office is buzzing about the team’s exciting core, writes Jamal Collier of ESPN. Detroit’s two 2022 lottery picks, shooting guard Jaden Ivey and center Jalen Duren, both flashed plenty of promise in this year’s Las Vegas Summer League showcase. “I think we hit a home run,” a team source expressed to Collier. “We positioned ourselves well and [general manager] Troy [Weaver] did a great job of putting guys together on the same timeline… We’ll probably have the youngest team in the league next year, or one of [them], so we have to be careful not to put too much pressure or set expectations. We’ve got great chemistry, and I think we’re going to be in position to make a big jump in wins.” The Pistons project Ivey, the fifth pick out of Purdue, as an ideal backcourt fit alongside 2022 All-Rookie First Team point guard Cade Cunningham.
  • Despite the fact that the Suns wound up matching the Pacers‘ maximum offer sheet to Phoenix center Deandre Ayton, Indiana guard Tyrese Haliburton appreciated his club’s willingness to pony up the dough for such a high-level player, as he told Alex Golden and Mike Facci in a recent episode of the podcast Setting The Pace (hat tip to James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star for the transcription). “Our front office is aggressive to want to get back in the playoffs,” Haliburton said. “They’re aggressive to compete for championships, as they should be, as any organization should be. And obviously they offered DA that deal and he accepted it. I think it would’ve been beneficial because he’s a great player, but Phoenix obviously matched as they probably should and you just kind of move on from it.”
  • The revamped Pacers will boast a young roster with high upside heading into the 2022/23 season. In another piece (subscriber link), Boyd takes a look at the team’s current personnel, speculating about potential starters and the bench rotation. Boyd also notes that current projected veteran starters Buddy Hield and Myles Turner could be traded before the 2023 deadline.

Pacers Notes: Turner, Nesmith, Mathurin, Haliburton

Even though they didn’t get Deandre Ayton, the Pacers‘ decision to submit an offer sheet to the free agent center indicates that Myles Turner is probably on the way out, writes James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star.

Turner, 26, was the subject of trade rumors before this year’s deadline, but Indiana decided to keep him and move Domantas Sabonis instead. Turner wound up missing the final 39 games of the season with a stress reaction in his left foot, which could affect his trade value, but Boyd believes there’s still a market for him.

Turner has a $17.5MM expiring contract for next season, and Boyd expects the Pacers to pursue trades for other players with expiring deals to preserve their 2023 cap space. Indiana opened up additional room by waiving four players on Thursday before submitting the offer sheet to Ayton.

There’s more from Indiana:

  • Aaron Nesmith didn’t get the playing time he was hoping for in Boston after being selected in the 2020 lottery, but he’s hoping for a fresh start with the Pacers, Boyd states in a separate story. Nesmith, who was part of the return for Malcolm Brogdon, said his time with the Celtics was still a valuable experience. “I learned what it takes to win in this league,” he said. “Being able to be a part of a Finals run, make it to the playoffs both of my years, get some playoff experience. So hopefully I can bring that over here to Indiana and kind of show the other young guys what it takes to win and that nothing’s gonna be given to you.”
  • The Pacers will shut down first-round pick Bennedict Mathurin for the rest of Summer League, citing “precautionary reasons,” Boyd adds in another piece. Mathurin played well in his first three games, averaging 19.3 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 48.8% from the field and 38.5% from three-point range. Isaiah Jackson and Terry Taylor will also be sidelined for the team’s final two games.
  • In an interview with NBA TV, coach Rick Carlisle raved about the trade that brought Tyrese Haliburton to Indiana in February, according to Boyd. “Haliburton, yeah, that changed everything for this franchise,” Carlisle said. “Now you got free agents that want to come play for the Pacers because they want to come play with Tyrese Haliburton and that’s a huge deal.”

Pacific Notes: Biyombo, Wiseman, Haliburton, Vezenkov

According to Suns center Bismack Biyombo, “winning teams” showed interest in him in free agency and he potentially could’ve made more money elsewhere, but he’s comfortable in Phoenix and believes the team’s system allows him to “excel,” writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.

Biyombo also said that he’s looking forward to being a Sun from day one this season after joining the team midway through the 2021/22 campaign.

“All the structure was set, and you’re kind of catching a rhythm of a team and trying to join the dance,” Biyombo said. “I think it’s always good to start the dance at the beginning, which is training camp. Have a better understanding of the team.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Warriors center James Wiseman looked good in his return to the court on Sunday in Las Vegas, scoring 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting and blocking a couple shots in 19 minutes, writes Kendra Andrews of ESPN. It’s an encouraging first step for the former No. 2 overall pick, who missed the entire 2021/22 season due to a knee injury. “Walking into the locker room after the game and all the players cheering for him I think he can kind of (say), ‘Ah, I can breathe again,'” Warriors Summer League coach Jama Mahlalela told ESPN. “Every conversation I have with him is, ‘I am so proud of you but now the real work begins.'”
  • Now a member of the Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton says he still has love for Sacramento, despite unexpectedly being traded to Indiana prior to the 2022 deadline. Haliburton told Sean Cunningham of Fox 40 in Sacramento (video link) that his feelings toward the Kings organization and Kings fans are “completely different” from one another.
  • After having his NBA rights acquired by the Kings in June, Olympiacos forward Sasha Vezenkov had reportedly planned to meet with the team in Las Vegas this month. However, Vezenkov isn’t traveling stateside after all, according to Vangelis Ioannou of Eurohoops.net, and he recently made comments hinting he may remain in Greece for the 2022/23 season, per Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops.net. Vezenkov has an NBA opt-out deadline of July 20 in his deal with Olympiacos, so he’ll have another nine days to see if he and the Kings can work out a deal. Sacramento has a small portion of its mid-level exception available to offer the 26-year-old more than two years, or could dip into its bi-annual exception to offer a two-year deal worth more than the rookie minimum.

Eastern Notes: Pistons, Sixers, Raptors, Haliburton

The Pistons entered last week with plenty of cap space and used a good portion of it on their impending trade with the Knicks for Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel and their free agent deals with Marvin Bagley and Kevin Knox. They have a full roster but still need more shooting, plus they have an overload of big men, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press notes. It’s possible the Pistons could get involved in another trade, rather than dipping again into the free agent market.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Sixers added grit and toughness by securing commitments from P.J. Tucker and Danuel House in free agency but there’s more work to be done, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. They still need to replace starting wing Danny Green and they’re still too dependent on Joel Embiid‘s health and a bounce back from James Harden to reach the top of the Eastern Conference.
  • Going all in for a spirited run at Kevin Durant is far from a no-brainer for the Raptors, Eric Koreen of The Athletic argues. While the Raptors have the pieces to make the Nets a substantial offer, they have been built around draft successes and development. They have to decide whether to risk the future for another championship run or count on incremental growth to keep open their window of opportunity for several more seasons.
  • By agreeing to trade Malcolm Brogdon to the Celtics, the Pacers essentially gave Tyrese Haliburton the keys to the franchise, according to James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star. It was a clear signal that they’re building around their potential All-Star guard. He is now the team’s unquestioned backcourt leader and the Pacers could potentially have three first-round picks next year. They also now have the cap flexibility to make a max contract offer to restricted free agent Deandre Ayton, if they choose that route.

Central Notes: Grant, Pistons, Pacers, Haliburton

After securing the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft and selecting talented guard Cade Cunningham, the Pistons are hoping to have similar lottery luck this year. Detroit’s landing spot in Tuesday’s draft lottery could help add some clarity to the team’s decision on the long-term future of veteran forward Jerami Grant, writes Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press.

The Pistons could opt this offseason to extend Grant, whose deal with the club expires in 2023 after he earns $21MM next season. Should the Pistons find a suitable young replacement candidate in the draft, the team may opt to move on from the 28-year-old forward.

During his second season with the Pistons, Grant missed 35 games with a left calf strain. In his 47 healthy contests, he averaged 19.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.4 APG and 1.0 BPG, with shooting splits of .426/.358/.838.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Pistons will have a variety of players to choose from wherever they land within the NBA lottery, writes James Edwards of The Athletic. Edwards takes a look at a handful of mock draft scenarios for Detroit depending on just where that selection ends up. Edwards notes that Purdue guard Jaden Ivey could rocket up the draft board for several clubs, and may be an intriguing top-four candidate for Detroit.
  • The lottery-bound Pacers held their first pre-draft workout of the 2022 offseason Friday at the St. Vincent Center with six young prospects. Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files offers a breakdown of the day, including intriguing tidbits on draft hopefuls Josh Minott, a 6’8″ guard out of Memphis, and Hyunjung Lee, a 6’7″ guard out of Davidson.
  • New Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton hopes to stick around in Indiana for the long haul, writes Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files“I want to be here and I want to be part of it,” the 22-year-old said of his future with the franchise. Agness notes that Haliburton has remained in Indiana, working out consistently, since the team’s season came to an official close. He sat courtside to watch the Indiana Fever defeat the Minnesota Lynx 82-76 earlier this week. The 6’5″ guard averaged 17.5 PPG, 9.6 APG, 4.3 RPG, and 1.8 SPG in his 26 games with Indiana after being dealt by the Kings.

Mavs’ Brunson Continues To Boost Value Ahead Of Free Agency

After enjoying the best year of his NBA career during the 2021/22 regular season, Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson has taken his game to another level so far in the playoffs, averaging 29.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 4.8 APG on .483/.409/.857 shooting in four games (38.5 MPG). He played a key role in helping Dallas take a 2-1 lead in the series without Luka Doncic before the All-NBA guard returned in Game 4.

According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, pro personnel scouts and executives polled by ESPN believe the floor for Brunson – an unrestricted free agent this summer – is now $20MM per year on his next contract. Some people believe the 25-year-old could get upwards of $25MM annually, MacMahon adds.

For his part, Brunson told ESPN that he isn’t thinking about his next contract with the Mavs engaged in a battle with the Jazz for a spot in the second round of the playoffs.

“Not at all. Not at all. I promise you,” Brunson said. “My dad, we’ll joke about it, but (my family knows) that I don’t want to talk about it until the season’s over. That’s really not going to help me right now. … I know it’s a weird situation. People don’t believe that I don’t talk about it, but it’s not a topic of conversation until I guess we get there.”

Brunson said he has “loved every second” of his time in Dallas, and it seems likely the Mavs will get the first shot at re-signing him. Although Brunson isn’t restricted, Dallas holds his Bird rights and can offer him more years and more money than any other suitor — additionally, team owner Mark Cuban has talked about wanting to lock up the point guard long-term. However, Brunson’s father Rick Brunson suggests the Mavs shouldn’t expect to get a team-friendly rate.

“We’ve got to figure out if Dallas wants him. Not words,” Rick Brunson said, per MacMahon. “Ain’t no discount. So don’t put it on us. Don’t tell me you love me. Show me.”

Here’s more on Brunson:

  • Brunson was eligible for a four-year, $55.6MM in-season extension in 2021/22, but the Mavericks didn’t offer it to him until after the trade deadline, according to MacMahon. By that point, Brunson had decided to wait until the offseason to sign a new deal. “I told him once the season is started, that’s it,” Rick Brunson said. “I told the Mavericks, ‘Once the season is started, there’s no contract talk,’ and I went back against my word. In January, I thought he did enough where he deserved (the extension). I said, ‘Hey, take the money, man.’ He wants security. He wants to live here. And (the Mavs) declined. He didn’t turn s–t down. Y’all declined first. When y’all came back to him (in February), we said, ‘Hey, we just want to finish out the season and go from there.'” Signing Brunson to a long-term extension in January would’ve made him ineligible to be traded this season, so the Mavs may have wanted to keep their options open.
  • The Pistons and Knicks are widely considered to be potential suitors for Brunson, as previous reported have indicated. League sources tell MacMahon that Detroit likes how Brunson fits alongside Doncic and believes he could play a similar role next to Cade Cunningham. Knicks president of basketball operations and former CAA agent Leon Rose, meanwhile, has several ties to the Brunson family — Rick was his first client and he previously represented Jalen. Now, Leon’s son Sam Rose is one of the agents who reps Jalen at CAA.
  • Despite those links to the Knicks, Rick Brunson insists the familial connections won’t be a deciding factor in his son’s free agency. “I’ve made it very clear to Leon, ‘I love you to death. Your son works for Jalen, represents Jalen, but this is about Jalen,'” Rick Brunson said. “… Leon wouldn’t never talk to me again (if Jalen signs elsewhere). The question I have, is it a good fit in New York? We don’t know, because we have to sit down and figure it out (and evaluate the) draft. July 1 is a long way away.”
  • Further complicating matters for the Knicks? League sources tell MacMahon that the Mavericks have no intention of accommodating a sign-and-trade scenario, so any team that wants to sign Brunson will likely need cap space to do so. That shouldn’t be a problem for the Pistons, but the Knicks would have to shed some salary to create cap room.
  • Interestingly, the Knicks had an opportunity to acquire Brunson in 2020, according to MacMahon, who says the Mavs were dangling a package of Brunson, the No. 18 overall pick, and the No. 31 overall pick that year in an effort to trade up for Tyrese Haliburton. Dallas was unable to find a taker, including the Knicks, who used the No. 8 pick that year on Obi Toppin.