NBA’s Knicks tampering investigation: Jalen Brunson’s signing blurs lines

nbatampering investigation new York Knicks gets complicated quickly.

There are blurred lines between Jalen and Rick Brunson, the latter of whom the Knicks hired as assistant coach in June. Certainly, a father should be allowed to talk to his son about career advice.

There are blurred lines between Knicks president Leon Rose and Rick Brunson, as well, given that Brunson was one of Rose’s first clients in Rose’s agent days. The Roses and Brunsons have been close family friends for decades, from generation to generation of Leon and Rick to the next.

There are blurred lines between Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau and longtime Thebes loyalist Rick Brunson.

But motives, not just relationships, will come into play as the league gathers evidence. There are nuances on both sides in this investigation.

The NBA is officially investigating the Knicks for free-agent recruitment of Jalen Brunson, a source confirms athletic earlier this week. Yahoo! Sports was the first to report the news.

Brunson, who spent his first four seasons with Dallas Mavericksofficially signed a four-year, $104 million contract with New York in July.

The league will look into the Rick Brunson connection. It will try to understand how much, if any, contact occurred before the Knicks could legally talk to Jalen Brunson or their representatives about the contract, and who would be contacted. News of the Knicks and Brunson coming to an agreement went public before the teams were officially allowed to talk to free agents.

There’s a four-year-old quote from NBA commissioner Adam Silver that I’ve been thinking about ever since the news broke. At a 2018 news conference, a reporter asked Silver about an allegation of molesting Magic Johnson earlier that season, when Johnson made public comments about it. Milwaukee Bucks Star Giannis AntetokounmpoAnd why did the league choose to punish Johnson, who was running Los Angeles Lakers those days.

“There isn’t always a simple, bright line,” Silver said. “As I’ve said before, context is everything. … Not that I can say, it’s a simple rule. I think you know a little bit when you see it, and in this case I will, ultimately, take responsibility for it. We thought Magic crossed the line in terms of things that happened this year.”

The NBA can punish for tampering based only on evidence found in an investigation, not what it believes happened behind closed doors, but there are different ways to interpret the evidence.

The league will look into why the Knicks hired Rick Brunson. He has a long-standing relationship with Thibodeau, under whom he worked with Chicago Bulls And Minnesota Timberwolves, The hire, of course, could only have come because Thibodeau wanted a familiar, reliable face on the bench, especially given the recent history of Knicks coaches.

When the Knicks first hired Thibodeau, the front office brought in three key assistants to help lead its staff: Jonny Bryant, Kenny Payne, and Mike Woodson. But over the past two years, both Woodson and Payne have departed for jobs with their alma maters, Indiana and Louisville, respectively. The Knicks didn’t replace him. Head coaches hired assistants who worked for them all the time elsewhere. Maybe all that was bringing in Rick Brunson.

But then, there are nuances. The entire league knew the Knicks were going to chase Jalen Brunson when the Knicks hired their father, so suspicions arose. The league will seek evidence as to why the rent occurred and what the organization’s objectives were.

The NBA may collect email or text correspondence between parties as required. Other elements will come under question. For example, what is Rick Brunson’s salary? And how does it stack up against other subsidiaries around the league? The Knicks put Rick off a high school coaching job in New Jersey. He resigned from his assistant gig in Minnesota in 2018 Allegations of unfair treatment of women in the workplace.

When did the Knicks know they were hiring Rick Brunson? Stephen Bondi of the New York Daily News reported in April that he was a potential hire. That report came from ESPN’s Tim McMahon three weeks ago published a story Which quotes Rick discussing Jalan’s free agency as well as the possibility of the Knicks.

Recent precedent states that the penalty for NBA tampering is the loss of a team’s next second-round pick. Miami Heat Lost a second rounder last season after negotiating a sign-and-trade for the All-Star guard Kyle Lowry before they were allowed. Chicago Bulls face similar penalty after starting sign-and-trade talks for point guard lonzo ball Even earlier than they could.

but as i wrote two weeks agoThe league does not view the loss of a second-rounder as a broad penalty, while I deemed the prospect of an upcoming investigation “excellent.” If it uncovers evidence of tampering considered particularly serious, it can carry a harsher punishment.

The NBA may have felt that everything was above board here. It may seem that it was not. It may find something that might otherwise look dicey but decides that it is not crossing a line when it is a father and son talking. What will happen, no one knows yet. The investigation is just starting.

But it’s much more nuanced than simply allowing a father and son to talk about their future, just as it’s more nuanced than simply punishing the Knicks because they’ve been a sought-after free agent. The father of or because of a new Jalen Brunson contract was first reported inside a league on June 30 at 6:01 pm when the free-agency clock dinged a second after signing. After that it rolls out. Certainly, the team and player are not setting the annual record for the fastest talks in the history of the business.

But there is a saying… you know a little bit when you see it.

Words of Adam Silver. is not mine.

It goes beyond just finding evidence. It’s not like the lullaby or ball sign-and-trades, which apparently started among people who had no business speaking up. The NBA has to conclude an investigation and then decide if it sees it and if it knows it.


related reading

Hollinger: Clarity needs to be brought to the NBA’s tampering investigation

(Photo by Spike Lee, Rick Brunson and Derrick Rose: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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