The Knicks probably tampered for Brunson but its fine

Welcome to Layup Lines, our daily NBA newsletter where we’ll prep you for a tip-off of this offseason’s NBA action, from what to watch to bets to make. Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox every afternoon.

What’s good, family. It’s your boy Sykes here with another edition of Layup Lines. Free agency is the talk of the town right now around the league — more specifically, Jalen Brunson.

It seems like the Mavericks guard is about to be a former Mavericks guard. Brunson is reportedly going to have a 4-year,  $110 million offer from the Knicks waiting on him, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports.

After their trade with the Pistons on Wednesday where the shipped Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks, a 2nd round pick and $6 million (!!!!!!) in cash, the Knicks have cleared about $30 million in cap space to use on Brunson.

It’s pretty clear at this point this is a done deal. Everyone is reporting it from Marc Stein to ESPN to The Athletic and more. Brunson’s days as a Maverick seem to be over.

Now, if you’re a Mavericks fan, you’re probably a bit peeved right now. Free agency doesn’t even start for another day. But it feels like Brunson’s contract with the Knicks has already essentially been negotiated — he just needs to sign on the dotted line.

Let’s be honest about it — the Knicks probably tampered here. Maybe it was through his agent, Drew Morrison, who works at the Creative Arts Agency where Knicks Team President Leon Rose used to head the basketball division. Or maybe it was through his father, Rick Brunson, who the team recently hired. I’m not sure.

This is an NBA problem — we’ve seen it through the years. Most recently, we saw what happened with the Bulls and Heat with Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry, respectively.

But here’s my thing: I think tampering is fine! Especially this sort of tampering. The season is over. All we’re doing is twiddling our thumbs and waiting for free agency to start, anyway. Why not get it popping early?

I get there’s decorum and you want to make sure teams get a true first swing at their own players. But the Mavericks had every chance to retain Brunson — at the beginning of the season with a better extension offer and in January before his extension deadline. They could even beat out the Knicks here if they wanted to, though it’d come at a hefty price.

At this point, this just is what it is. The Mavericks can’t be upset at anyone but themselves here if Brunson leaves. That’s on them.

The Tip-Off

Some NBA goodness from around the USA TODAY Sports network.

Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Candace Parker just made some pretty huge WNBA history — again, my dude Cole Huff writes.

She’s the triple-double queen in the W already. But she also just became the first player to ever reach some pretty impressive milestones in her career. Cole has more here.

“Last week, Parker became the first player in WNBA history to record three career triple-doubles. On Wednesday, she became the only WNBA player to reach 6,000 points, 3,000 rebounds and 1,500 assists in a career after dishing a sweet, no-look dime to Kahleah Copper on the fastbreak.”

That’s pretty awesome stuff, man. Shoutout to Candace for continuing to grow her legend.

One to Watch

(All odds via Tipico.)

Storm  (-1.5, -105) vs. Aces (-115), O/U 232.5, 10 PM ET

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Seattle Storm and Las Vegas Aces are two of the teams most think could make a legitimate run to the WNBA Finals. The Aces have been the clear-cut best team in the W all season long with three legitimate MVP candidates on the roster in A’ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young. I’m taking the Aces +1.5 pretty easily here.

Shootaround

— The 5 free agents that might be great steals this offseason, including Gary Payton II

— The Monte Morris trade between the Wizards and Nuggets broke an obscure NBA record 

— Here’s a Summer League roster tracker for every team in the NBA.

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