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What happens if the Knicks are found guilty of tampering in the Jalen Brunson signing?

The New York team could face sanctions if the NBA find that it made contact with the former Dallas Mavericks point guard before the start of free agency.

What happens if the Knicks are found guilty of tampering in the Jalen Brunson signing?
Ron JenkinsAFP

It was reported on Monday by Yahoo! sports that the New York Knicks were being investigated by the National Basketball Association for allegedly tampering in their signing of Jalen Brunson. Did they really make contact before the start of free agency? What could happen to them if they did? What are the Mavs saying about it? Let’s have a look...

Is there fire coming from Knicks’ Brunson burner?

The key to the investigation is very simple, with the NBA attempting to clarify one way or the other if the Knicks made contact with the point guard before the start of free agency. Brunson signed a four-year contract with New York on 12 July this year, with the 25-year set to be picking up $104 million.

The suspicions were raised with the big deal being agreed and signed off just hours into the start of free agency on 30 June. And there was more. Plans had been engaged much earlier with the trades of Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks freeing up some needed cap space. Oh, and at the beginning of June the Knicks got themselves a brand new assistant coach by the name of Rick Brunson, Jalen’s father. There is even the connection between Brunson and Leon Rose, the New York team’s general manager, who used to be the agent for the player.

You starting to see why this is being looked into? Well, smoke there may be, but fire is not always a consequence of those billows.

What sanctions could Knicks face if found guilty of tampering?

If, and it’s still a big ‘IF’ the Knicks are found to have tampered in the Brunson case then we can only go on precedents set by the NBA. The most obvious recent case was just last year, when both the Miami Heat (over Kyle Lowry) and Chicago Bulls (over Lonzo Ball) had to give up their second-round draft picks for the same offense. The same punishment was handed out to the Milwaukee Bucks the season before when they jumped the trading gun for Bogdan Bogdanovic of the Sacramento Kings.

Some critics have argued that if the deal involves a key cog in the offending team for the upcoming season then that draft sanction is worth the risk of being caught. That said, the penalty ceilings for tampering increased in 2019, with the league able to fine teams up to $10 million, while suspensions of executives can also be made. According to the rules, the contracts can actually even be voided in serious cases but whether or not the NBA would go this far is a matter of debate.

And are the Mavs upset? It doesn’t appear so going off the words of Mark Cuban. I wonder what he says when the microphone is not on...

Brunson background

A second-round pick out of Villanova in 2018, Brunson averaged 16.3 points, 4.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game with the Mavericks in 2021-22. He enjoyed a breakout postseason with averages of 21.6 points and 4.6 rebounds, emerging as a go-to scorer in a first-round series against the Utah Jazz while star Luka Doncic was sidelined.

Brunson has career averages of 11.9 points, 3.7 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 277 games (127 starts), all with Dallas. He is a 37.3 percent shooter from 3-point distance.