The New York Knicks finally have their franchise point guard.
Jalen Brunson was signed to a four-year, $104 million deal to provide some stability in the first.
New York has been desperate for a steady presence at the lead guard position for most of the last decade.
BREAKING: Jalen Brunson officially agrees to a 4-year/$104 million deal with the Knicks, via @wospn
— Central Hoop (@TheHoopCentral) July 1, 2022
Bringing Brunson on board will ease some of the load placed on RJ Barrett and Julius Randle on the offensive end.
Barrett, Randle and Immanuel Quickley will no longer need to fill a role that is not their natural position.
With the addition of Brunson, the Knicks will now have playoff expectations.
One appearance in the game won’t be enough even in a strong Eastern Conference.
The Knicks can’t afford to continue wasting seasons like a team that made the playoffs once since 2012-13.
Recent Knicks history
The 2000s have been a dark time for a storied franchise like the New York Knicks.
They made the playoffs every year of the 1990s, reaching the NBA Finals twice and the Conference Finals four times.
If it wasn’t for Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, Patrick Ewing and the Knicks might have won a ring or two in that time.
It’s been a different story since the turn of the century.
The Knicks made the playoffs just six times in the 2000s, compiling a 10-25 record.
They got past the first round once and won less than one game in four trips to the playoffs.
New York has employed 14 head coaches and only three of them have a winning record.
The Knicks have the worst record, most head coaches and are tied for the fewest playoff appearances in the NBA since reaching the 1999 Finals. That coincides with James Dolan’s takeover as president of MSG. . Thibodeau would be the Knicks’ 14th coach in that span. pic.twitter.com/xKJFPEBdlV
— Statistics and information from ESPN (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 25, 2020
Tom Thibodeau was apparently the right hire in his first year.
The Knicks went 41-31 and had the stingiest defense in the league.
They earned home field advantage in the first round as the fourth seed against the Atlanta Hawks.
However, the good vibes would quickly end as Trae Young and the Hawks dispatched the Knicks in five games.
New York went 37-45 last season as an encore to its playoff appearance from 2012-13.
The defense fell to sixth-best in the league, while the offense held steady at 26th in the NBA.
After a promising 2020-21 season, the Knicks disappointed last year.
It’s time for the Knicks to move up the ranks in the Eastern Conference.
They had a pretty decent offseason with Brunson as the main addition.
He was joined by Isaiah Hartenstein, as well as Mitchell Robinson, Jericho Sims and Barrett, all three of whom re-signed.
Derrick Rose, Randle and Cam Reddish will return from injury.
And they picked up four future first-round picks on draft night.
They couldn’t use those picks to bring in Donovan Mitchell, but now they’re available for the next star to be made available.
“I thought it was New York, I’m not going to lie to you… I’m really excited to be here.”
Donovan Mitchell talks about landing with the Cavs after rumors that he would join the Knicks. pic.twitter.com/uBBEx9Qwwu
— NBA Television (@NBATV) September 14, 2022
But it’s up to the Knicks to become a destination the stars want to go to.
Continually missing the playoffs won’t make them attractive to players looking to win now.
Thibodeau will need to make the most of his rotation as he continues to develop young players like Quickley, Obi Toppin, Miles McBride and Quentin Grimes.
The Eastern Conference is stronger and deeper than it has been in recent memory.
But the Knicks can’t afford to keep missing the playoffs.
Their young guys need playoff experience and they need to show players around the league that they can win in New York.
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