The New York Knicks haven't hidden their desire to chase down and overpay Jalen Brunson in free agency. At this point, the only obstacle they may have to deal with is a last-ditch effort by the Dallas Mavericks to out-Knicks the Knicks and overpay for Brunson themselves.
New York has been in full salary dump mode since the NBA Draft, getting rid of Kemba Walker, Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks, and they continue to reportedly look for more ways to open up space for a big Brunson salary, and likely add more to the mix in free agency as well.
You won't even find any odds for other potential suitors at this point. It's a two-team race to see who can land the 25-year old point guard, and both organizations are desperate for their own reasons to get him.
At one point, Brunson's deal was looking to be in the range of $20 million a year, but it could exceed $25 million according to reports, with the Knicks offering a four-year deal and Dallas having the ability to offer five.
His father, Rick, is on the Knicks' coaching staff now; Leon Rose, their mysterious never-make-public-appearances team president, is Brunson's former agent; and given all the backlash in New York and beyond, they'll likely do whatever they can to make sure they don't miss out on Brunson after gutting their roster.
The only obstacle stopping this would be Mark Cuban throwing more money along with that extra year at Brunson to keep him in Dallas. They have a little more flexibility with that fifth year and more potential money, and given the fact that it would be harder for Dallas to replace Brunson, they may just overpay to make life easier given the momentum they built in this year's playoffs.
Dallas doesn't have the assets to get in on a potential D'Angelo Russell or Dejounte Murray trade, and they could be left with just something in the mid-level exception range to find Brunson's replacement.
Either way, it's a two-horse race for a non-star that, yes, showed drastic improvement last year, but the market has dropped two desperate teams into a bidding war, and Brunson will clearly walk away the winner when it's all done.