A bunch o’ business was conducted in the Knickerbocker offices on Tuesday, with two players added to the roster and one giant jester re-signed.
The point guard situation at Madison Square Garden has been murky for a looooong time, with brief glimmers of hope in the dearly departed Kemba Walker, the ascendant play of Immanuel Quickley, and the excellent reserve play of Derrick Rose.
The 25-year-old, 6’1”, 190 lb. Brunson averaged 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists on 50% shooting last season with the Dallas Mavericks. He is a superb floor general, has an excellent mid-range game, and made 37% from beyond the arc on 3.2 attempts. And now he’s a Knick!
According to sources, the four-year, $104 million has a player option for the final year.
Jalen tasted glory as a top collegiate player who won two National championships with Villanova (2016, 2018). If you haven’t checked the awards section of his college-basketball reference page, go give it a look. He’s a Knick!
With Dallas, Brunson lived in Luka Dončić’s shadow but proved last season that he could shine with or without the Slovenian savant. Last season, in 17 Luka-less games, Jalen averaged 20.4 points, 3.9 boards, and 7.5 dimes in 34 minutes per contest. And now a Knick!
During the playoffs, Jalen, often lauded for his composure, shone even brighter. Over 18 post-season games, he averaged 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in just under 35 minutes per game. In a playoff game against the Jazz, he logged a career-high 41 points on the way to bouncing Utah from the tournament and sending their organization into a spiral of gloomy self-reflection. And he’s officially a Knickerbocker!
Brunson’s contract wasn’t the only paperwork filed yesterday, of course. Heading into the off-season, many wondered if the Knicks would retain their wild stallion center, Louisiana’s own Mitchell Robinson. The Blockness Monster was a free agent in some demand, drawing attention from teams around the league. In the end, New York forked over the money to keep their high-flying five.
Fred Katz of The Athletic tweeted the terms of the four-year, $60M deal.
Mitchell Robinson's four-year, $60M contract with the Knicks is descending, as well, source says.— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) July 12, 2022
Here are the details:
There are no options in the deal. No trade kicker, either.
Last season, Mr. Lobinson appeared in 72 games, a career-high, and averaged 8.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks. He shot 76% from the field and had a Player Efficiency Rating of 20.7. He is the franchise’s all-time field goal percentage leader with 72.2%.
While it’s fair to call Mitch offensively limited, he is a rebounding beast who provides exactly the sort of rim protection that coach Tom Thibodeau craves. Team president Leon Rose said about Robinson in a team statement, “He’s our defensive anchor, our rim protector, and someone our organization has seen grow tremendously both on and off the court over the last four seasons.”
Mitch is also wickedly funny and livens up any press conference or backyard BBQ with his wild witticisms, although his booking cost has surely risen after this signing.
Mitchell Robinson needs TWO contracts:— New York Basketball (@NBA_NewYork) June 27, 2022
1. Knicks contract
2. Mitch's Block Party contract pic.twitter.com/uzkcjm7feR
Tuesday’s last bit of business (that I’m aware of) was to ink back-up center Isaiah Hartenstein (7’0”, 250 lb.). Last year with the Los Angeles Clippers, the 24-year-old averaged 8.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.4 assists and shot 63% from the floor. He has the potential to add floor spacing, too—he only took 30 threes last season, but he cashed in 47% of them.
According to our man Katz, Isaiah’s signed a guaranteed, $16M, two-year contract. Here Fred outlines the terms, plus incentives that could total $1.05:
Isaiah Hartenstein has $16M guaranteed in his two-year contract with the Knicks, according to a source, but he also has $1.05M in unlikely bonuses each season.— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) July 12, 2022
Year 1: $7.8M
Year 2: $8.2M
He also has a 5 percent trade kicker.
Leon Rose said, “We are very excited to welcome Isaiah Hartenstein to the Knicks family…. He’s a versatile big man who impacts the game on both ends of the floor and who plays with a passion and energy that is contagious.
Originally from Eugene, OR, Hartenstein lived for a time in Germany, where his father played ball. Over at Clips Nation, Justin Russo sounded rueful about the big man’s departure.
One thing is for certain: Clippers players did love playing with Isaiah Hartenstein. Throughout the season, every player praised Hartenstein’s basketball IQ and ability to read the game, thus making life a lot easier for them on the floor. Without Hartenstein, the Clippers will have somewhat of a hole to fill at backup center. Maybe that spot goes to Moses Brown. Only time will tell.
I leave you with this image of the Dark Lord consulting with young Isaiah in Las Vegas this week. Congratulations signees! We can’t see you on the court!