Just before Thursday's scheduled start of NBA free agency, ESPN's Tim MacMahon reported that the Dallas Mavericks have been told that Brunson intends to sign with the Knicks after helping the Mavericks to last season's Western Conference finals. Brunson agreed to a four-year, $104 million deal with the Knicks shortly after, his agents told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Eligible and apparently willing to sign a four-year extension worth $55 million with Dallas last season, Brunson instead earns a massive new contract after proving his ability to succeed in the crucible of the postseason.
After years of making modest investments in free agency with mixed results, Brunson represents a change in strategy for New York, hoping he can be the centerpiece of a team that also features former No. 3 pick RJ Barrett and one-time All-Star Julius Randle.
Earlier this week, I took a look at the history of free agents like Brunson who have found a larger role with their new team. Now, let's take a closer look at how Brunson fits with the Knicks and whether investing so heavily in his prime years is the right strategy.
Pick-and-roll offense, but a different flavor
As with the Mavericks, Brunson should create the bulk of his offense out of pick-and-roll situations. Despite playing with Luka Doncic, who ranked No. 1 in the league by getting 74.1 on-ball screens per 100 possessions according to Second Spectrum tracking, Brunson still managed to run nearly as many per possession (34.2) as Stephen Curry (34.5). With Luka on the bench, that skyrocketed to 53.2, sixth-highest in the league.
Dating back to his time with the Chicago Bulls, New York coach Tom Thibodeau has always favored pick-and-roll offenses for his point guards.