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One of Jalen Brunson’s most important career decisions looms with the Knicks

Friday is an important day for the New York Knicks. It’s an important day for Jalen Brunson. The star point guard will officially be eligible to sign an extension, but the question is, will he? Or will he wait to sign a much bigger deal next summer as a free agent?

Brunson is a humble guy. He has shone in the New York limelight but still shuns attention. He never praises himself but always throws an assist (sometimes literally) to his teammates.

It’s not uncommon for NBA stars to take pay cuts that benefit their teams, but it’s rare to take a pay cut that leaves $113 million guaranteed on the table. The most the Knicks can offer Brunson this summer is a four-year deal worth $156.5 million. In 2025, he could sign a five-year deal worth $269.1 million.

In late May, Newsday’s Steve Popper reported that “all indications” were that Brunson would do so sign an extension this summer (subscription required). On Monday, The Athletic’s Fred Katz reported (subscription required) that “signing the extension is still under consideration.” There is a real chance that Brunson and the Knicks will agree to an extension on Friday.

Katz expertly explained why Brunson is encouraged to take less money this summer. A four-year deal with a player option would mean he could become a free agent in 2028, after his 10th NBA season. He would then be eligible to sign a super-max deal worth 35% of the cap. The timing is perfect.

Brunson could sign an extension this summer with the goal of taking the above route, but that doesn’t mean he would be doing the Knicks any less of a favor. He would help New York better navigate the harsh penalties in the collective agreement’s first and second tax aprons. Financial flexibility is more important than ever.

If Brunson agrees to an extension Friday, a statue of him will be outside Madison Square Garden one minute after Woj hits send his tweet. Did someone say King of New York?

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