Free agent guard Jalen Brunson is headed back to Madison Square Garden. 

Brunson, one of the breakout stars in the Dallas Mavericks’ run to the Western Conference final last season, intends to sign a four-year, $110 million contract with the New York Knicks, The Athletic reported Thursday. 

The NBA’s free agency negotiating period began at 6 p.m. ET Thursday. No deals will be official until the beginning of the league year on July 6. 

Brunson, who spent his early childhood in New Jersey and was a part of two NCAA title teams at Villanova, had been widely linked to the Knicks after he and the Mavericks failed to agree to a contract extension last season. 

The Athletic’s report said that Dallas never had the opportunity to make Brunson an offer, further evidence that his relationship with the Mavericks’ front office had been fractured. 

Brunson was chosen by Dallas in the second round of the 2018 draft and played 277 games for the Mavs, starting in 127. 

Last season, Brunson registered career highs by averaging 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists.

He scored 21.6 points per game last postseason, including an average of 32.0 points during the first three games of the first round against the Utah Jazz with Luka Doncic sidelined by injury. 

Another high-profile star has opted in to a lucrative contract as the NBA continues to prepare for free agency.

Hot on the heels of Kyrie Irving committing to the Brooklyn Nets, with potential destinations for a move thin on the ground, Russell Westbrook has picked up his option with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Westbrook will be paid $47.1million for the 2022-23 season, making it little surprise his decision was reported on Tuesday.

The 2017 NBA MVP endured a difficult first year in LA – to say the least – but will hope for a fresh start under new Lakers coach Darvin Ham.

Westbrook's huge contract made him extremely difficult to trade, limiting the Lakers' moves this offseason significantly.

The New York Knicks have worked to ensure they are not in the same position, despite similarly being tied to a highly paid underperforming player in Julius Randle.

The Knicks traded away their 11th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft among transactions that included dumping Kemba Walker's contract with the Detroit Pistons.

And the Knicks have also come to an agreement for the Pistons to take on both Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks.

These moves have cleared around $30m in cap space, and the Knicks appear determined to spend that money on Jalen Brunson, the Dallas Mavericks point guard.

Brunson is set to be a target for the Knicks after the free agency period begins on Thursday, and his departure would deal a blow to the Mavs and superstar Luka Doncic.

Dallas reached the Western Conference Finals in 2021-22 and have boosted their roster with a move for Christian Wood from the Houston Rockets.

But Brunson was the team's second man behind Doncic, leaving work to do just to get back to the level they have reached in recent months.

The Dallas Mavericks entered this offseason with a need at center, and potentially filled that void by acquiring Christian Wood from the Houston Rockets in exchange for four players and a draft pick.  

Wood, 26, was the Rockets’ leading scorer and rebounder this past season with 17.9 points and 10.1 boards per game. He was one of just nine players to average at least 17 points and 10 rebounds, joining the likes of Philadelphia's Joel Embiid, Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo and two-time MVP Nikola Jokic of Denver. 

Heading to Houston in the deal are Boban Marjanovic, Trey Burke, Sterling Brown and Marquese Chriss – all of which figure to fill reserve roles, at best – as well as the 26th pick in this year’s draft. Acquiring those players provides Houston with roster flexibility by trading one big contract for numerous smaller contracts, and gives them three first-round picks this year, adding to their selections at number three and 17.

Adding Wood gives Luka Doncic the frontcourt running-mate he has desired since the departure of Kristaps Porzingis, and he projects as the most dynamic pick-and-roll partner the Slovenian superstar has ever played with, playing in a system heavily focused on pick-and-roll offense. 

Wood will be joining his seventh NBA team in his seventh season, but after failing to stick with the 76ers, Hornets, Bucks and Pelicans, he really started to shine in 2019-20 with the Detroit Pistons, leading to a sign-and-trade to the Rockets and a three-year, $41million payday.

In his first season with Houston, he scored a career-best 21 points per game to go with 9.6 rebounds. Wood has also become a capable outside shooter, connecting on 131 3-pointers this season to match his total from the previous two seasons combined.  

The Mavericks were eliminated by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, marking their deepest playoff run of the Doncic era.

Luka Doncic said he "played terrible" but expressed his pride at the Dallas Mavericks' season on the whole after they were eliminated from the NBA playoffs by the Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors booked their berth in the NBA Finals with a 120-110 win in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday – Klay Thompson contributing a game-high 32 points.

Doncic had 28 points, nine rebounds and six assists, but it was far from a vintage performance from the Mavs' talisman.

He was only 10-of-28 shooting from the floor, including making just three-of-13 three-pointers, while in the first half alone he was just two-of-12 and had three turnovers.

"I don't like losing, especially like this. I played terrible," Doncic said.

Despite his struggles on the night, it marked the 10th time during this season's playoffs that Doncic had topped the stats sheets in points, rebounds and assists for the Mavs. That marked a new record for the most during a single postseason, with LeBron James holding the previous benchmark in 2013.

"If we talk about our season, I'm really proud of this team. Everybody, every player, every staff member," said Doncic, who averaged 31.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists in the playoffs.

"Nobody had us here. But I promise we fought until the end. Congratulations to the Warriors. They were obviously the better team. But I'm really proud of this team."

Asked what the Mavs need to do to progress to becoming a championship team, Doncic was unequivocal in his reply.

"I think defense has got to be way better for me," he said. 

"Honestly, I think I made a huge step this year defensively, but there's so much room for improvement. I've got to be way better there.

"I think that's one spot that can take us to the next level."

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr lauded an "incredible" Stephen Curry after his side progressed to a sixth NBA Finals appearance since 2015 on Thursday.

Curry claimed the first Western Conference Finals MVP award as the Dubs defeated the Dallas Mavericks 120-110 in Game 5, claiming a 4-1 series win.

The former unanimous MVP suffered an early injury scare, tweaking his right ankle in an attempt to trap Dorian Finney-Smith in the first quarter. After sitting out the early exchanges of the second quarter, Curry finished with 15 points on a relatively poor five-of-17 shooting for his standards, along with nine assists and two steals.

According to Kerr however, the 34-year-old's stamina and mere presence gets the Warriors going, while his effort on the defensive side of the ball deserves respect.

"He's our engine, offensively. Everything revolves around him," Kerr said after the win. "We've got a lot fo great players around him and guys who fit well together but it all starts with Steph.

"He just creates so much havoc for the defence that even on a night like tonight where he doesn't shoot the ball that well, he forces rotations and he frees up other players. His defence all year has been totally underrated.

"He's as strong as he's ever been. Conditioning-wise, just to play 35 minutes tonight, fighting over screen after screen after screen and then at the other end, be on the ball and get people open. Steph's incredible."

The Warriors moved to a 21-2 playoff series record under Kerr's tenure with the win over the Mavericks, after missing the playoffs in the previous two seasons.

After seeing through the long-term injuries to Curry and Klay Thompson over that two-year hiatus, Kerr believes his team started to find rhythm at the end of last term, ending with a 15-5 record over the final 20 games of the regular season.

"These last couple of years have been difficult with the injuries – worst record in the league two years ago," Kerr said post-game. "Last year it felt like we spent the year trying to get back on track and I think we did at the end of the season.

"It's pretty amazing. It's so difficult to get to the finals. An NBA season is such a marathon, to get through the 82 [regular-season games], then three rounds of the playoffs, beating the best teams in the league to get there, frankly, it's exhausting.

"For our team, our guys, especially the core group…to be part of that six times in eight years, I don't even know what to say. It just takes an enormous amount of skill and determination and work and I couldn't be prouder of our guys."

The Golden State Warriors progressed to their sixth NBA Finals appearance since 2015, defeating the Dallas Mavericks 120-110 on Thursday for a 4-1 series victory.

The Warriors moved to a 21-2 playoff-series record since Steve Kerr took over as coach in 2014, only losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors in respective finals.

Klay Thompson came up big for the Warriors, shooting an even 50 per cent from beyond the arc for a team-high 32 points.

Kevon Looney was again a critical figure for the Dubs, finishing with a double-double of 10 points and 18 rebounds including seven on the offensive glass.

His effort on the glass directly contributed to the Warriors' 17 second-chance points while he gave the team defensive flexibility and freedom to switch.

The Mavericks started Game 5 in disappointing fashion, with Luka Doncic held to six points on two-of-12 shooting while committing four turnovers.

The 23-year-old took over as the Mavs mounted a brave fightback, though, scoring 15 points in the third quarter and getting the margin back to single-digits.

Stephen Curry suffered an early injury scare, rolling his ankle in the first quarter when attempting to trap Dorian Finney-Smith. After icing the ankle, Curry returned to finish with 11 points on five-of-17 shooting from the floor and nine assists over 35 minutes.

Averaging 26 points, 7.5 rebounds and seven assists while shooting 47.1 per cent from beyond the arc coming into Game 5, Curry was the first recipient of the award for Western Conference Finals MVP.

The Warriors will face the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals series between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics.

Stephen Curry applauded Steve Kerr for his frank pre-game comments following a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday.

At a scheduled news conference before the Golden State Warriors' 119-109 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, an emotional Kerr called into question a lack of action from United States senators on the sale, presence and usage of firearms.

A moment of silence was then observed inside the American Airlines Center ahead of the tip-off, but Kerr had said: "I am sorry, I am tired of the moments of silence. Enough!"

Following the defeat, Curry explained basketball had been put in perspective as he stood in support of his coach, whose father was murdered in the university where he worked in Beirut in 1984.

"I appreciate his leadership," Curry said post-game. "It was on everybody's mind coming into the game. It's kind of hard to stay focused on going out and playing basketball, knowing what happened in this state.

"I got kids, send them to school every day, drop them off, and you feel for the parents that are going through what they're going through.

"I can't even imagine the pain, so for coach to come up here and say what he said – and every word that he said was powerful and meaningful – I accept that challenge of using my voice and platform to hopefully make change. You can tell what it meant to him. I appreciate his leadership on that one.

"You come in, and the perspective is, 'this is what we do', so you know how to kind of use your routine to get you ready. Obviously your mind wanders from time to time but especially in the moment of silence before the game."

The Warriors started slowly and were down by as much as 29 points at one stage, before the second unit got the game back to within single-digits with less than five minutes remaining.

While praising the Mavericks on their victory, Kerr conceded it was hard to get his team ready pre-game.

"It was sort of an unspoken awareness of what happened today, and it was a very quiet locker room beforehand," he said.

"I felt like as a coach, my job is to get the team ready to play. It was difficult to sort of keep perspective on a day like today, but that's the shock and the grief, the anger that's there for all of our guys, and I'm sure everybody in the building."  

Nikola Jokic was named in the All-NBA first team ahead of Joel Embiid and alongside Jayson Tatum, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Devin Booker in Tuesday evening's announcement.

Jokic pipped fellow center Embiid for the NBA's 2021-22 MVP award earlier this month and the Serbian again got the nod in that position in the All-NBA first team, although the Philadelphia 76ers star was eligible as a forward but also missed out.

While Jokic and Embiid split votes, Milwaukee Bucks forward Antetokounmpo was the only unanimous selection in the first team.

Antetokounmpo became the first player over the past 50 years to be a unanimous selection to the All-NBA first team in four straight seasons.

Tatum and Booker were both selected to the All-NBA first team for the first time.

Embiid led the selections for the second team, alongside DeMar DeRozan, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Ja Morant.

LeBron James was named to the third team, with Pascal Siakam, Karl-Anthony Towns, Chris Paul and Trae Young.

Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd hailed Luka Doncic after his starring role in their Game 4 win over the Golden State Warriors having been named in the All-NBA first team earlier on Tuesday.

Doncic had a near triple-double with 30 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists as the Mavericks won 119-109 over the Warriors to avoid a clean sweep.

Earlier in the day, Doncic had been named alongside Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and Devin Booker in the All-NBA first team for the third time in his career.

"I don’t think anybody is surprised that he's first team but it's really cool," Kidd told reporters.

"It shows the talent level. The other four are pretty talented too. It shows where he's going, his growth."

Kidd was full of praise for Doncic, who also had two steals and two blocks in Game 4, playing a key role in the fourth quarter to ward off the Warriors' late charge.

"What he does for this team is incredible, not just points and assists, but being able to rebound the ball," Kidd said.

"At the end, he came up with a nice little blocked shot to pad his defensive stats. He's our leader. When he goes, we go. He loves that stage.

"Being first team with the other four, it's a great honour for him."

Doncic, 23, was delighted with the accolade, which comes for the third straight season, having joined the Mavs in 2018.

"It's a blessing," Doncic told reporters. "As a kid I only dreamed of being in the NBA, and now it's my third All-NBA team.

"It's a blessing. I'm really happy and thankful to everybody that made it happen."

Doncic was also hopeful about the Mavericks in the Conference Finals despite history being against his side, who trail the Warriors 3-1.

Tuesday's win was the Mavs' fourth in franchise history in a Game 4 when facing a 3-0 deficit in a playoff series, losing Game 5 on the previous three occasions. Golden State has led 10 playoff series 3-0 in the past, sweeping six and winning in five on four occasions.

"I still believe we can win," Doncic said when asked if he was relieved to avoid a sweep.

"Swept or not swept, in the end, if you lose, you lose. It doesn’t matter how many you win, but we have to go game by game. We're going to believe until the end."

The Dallas Mavericks forced a Game 5 in the Western Conference Finals after holding off the fast-finishing Golden State Warriors, winning Game 4 119-109 on Tuesday.

Luka Doncic scored a team-high 30 points for the Mavs, including a crucial fourth-quarter dunk after the Warriors closed within eight points with 3:23 to play.

The Slovenian was one assist away from a triple-double, with 14 rebounds and nine assists along with two steals and two blocks, shooting 10-of-26 from the field.

The Mavericks shot 20-of-43 three-pointers for the game to stave off elimination, with Dorian Finney-Smith contributing 23 points and Reggie Bullock adding 18 points with six triples.

Dallas, who trailed 3-0 in the series coming into Game 4, led by as much as 29 points after dominating the middle quarters before the Warriors stormed home with a 39-20 final quarter.

Golden State's bench players led the fightback, with Jonathan Kuminga scoring 17 points, but Stephen Curry was their top scorer in the game, with 20 points.

Fifteen of Curry's 20 points came in the first half, while he also had five rebounds, eight assists and one steal.

The Warriors shot 10-of-28 from beyond the arc, with Curry only managing two-of-five from three-point range, while Klay Thompson went two-of-six for his 12 points.

After the Mavs led 62-47 at half-time, the game was delayed for 16 minutes in the third quarter after heavy rain in Dallas leaked onto the American Airlines Center court from the roof.

Dallas would hold on, marking the fourth time they have won Game 4 when facing a 3-0 deficit in a playoff series, losing Game 5 on the previous three occasions.

Golden State has led 10 playoff series 3-0 in the past, sweeping six and winning in five on four occasions. 

Game 5 will take place in San Francisco on Thursday.

Luka Doncic said he is "still learning", with his 40-point haul not enough to prevent the Dallas Mavericks from going 3-0 down in the Western Conference Finals series to the Golden State Warriors.

The 109-100 defeat in American Airlines Center means the Mavs have the unlikely task of needing to win the next four games in a row to make the NBA finals.

Doncic top scored in the game, while also making 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks, but felt he did not play well enough in the first half.

Spencer Dinwiddie (26) and Jalen Brunson (20) offered assistance but the hosts just could not keep up with the Warriors, with Stephen Curry coming away with 31 points and 11 assists.

"I'm still learning," Doncic said after the game. "I think the first two quarters, I played very bad. That's on me. But I'm still learning. I think after this season is done, whatever we are, I think we're going to look back and learn a lot of things.

"It's my first time in the Conference Finals in the NBA. I'm 23, man. I'm still learning a lot."

Despite Doncic's concerns about the first two quarters, it was the third where the game got away from Dallas, with the Warriors extending their half-time lead of one point to 10 points by the start of the fourth quarter.

However, the Slovenian praised the Warriors for their form and credited their development as a team over recent years.

"I think the Warriors are playing incredible," he added. "Everybody knows their role. Everybody just stays together.

"They're a long-built team. They've been together for a long time, and I think they're playing good basketball, so that's what I think is going to be really difficult. And these past three games, it's been very difficult."

Mavs head coach Jason Kidd offered similar thoughts, and insisted his team are just at the start of their "journey".

"This is just the beginning of this journey," Kidd said. "I know you guys had us winning the championship before the season started, and that's a joke if you didn't get it. But this is a lot bigger than just this one game or this one series. This is huge for our franchise because none of you guys had us here.

"So it's cool to go through this, and we're going against... you can call them a dynasty. They have three great players who will be hall of famers, and this is a great lesson learned from us.

"This isn't the end. This is just the beginning."

Stephen Curry avoided injury late in the first half of the Golden State Warriors' 109-100 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday after he tripped over a vendor at court-side.

Curry fell over the unsuspecting man serving drinks in the final seconds before the main interval as he scrambled to close out on a Reggie Bullock three-point attempt.

With his extensive history of ankle injuries, the former unanimous MVP was visibly frustrated with the accident, but went on to score 31 points as the Warriors took a 3-0 series lead over the Mavs.

Curry's frustration was not directed at the vendor however, which he clarified post-game.

"Yeah, man, there's like 30 seconds left before half-time, you're ordering a drink," Curry said after the game. "Just wait until half-time. I don't know why they needed to deliver it right then, but thankfully I was alright.

"He [the vendor] was doing his job, so hopefully he got a big tip."

Curry shot an even 50 per cent on his way to those 31 points, while adding 11 assists and five rebounds in the win.

Rebounds were big for the Warriors, especially on the offensive glass, with Kevon Looney and Andrew Wiggins combining for 10 while the Mavs grabbed seven as a team.

Looney had only seen over 20 minutes twice over the two series against Denver and Memphis, but following his double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds in Game 2, pitched in with nine points, 12 rebounds and four assists on Sunday.

Curry singled out Looney for praise following the game, highlighting him as a reflection of the team's identity. 

"It's a testament to how things change in the playoffs, from series to series and even within that from game to game, where you've got to have everybody stay ready," he said.

"Loon comes in Game 6 [against Memphis] and makes a huge difference, has a career night rebounding the ball. In this series, he's had career nights and had an amazing impact.

"It's how we do things, with everybody being a part or being a factor at some point, but it's how the playoffs go. You just love to see a guy get rewarded for staying ready."

The Golden State Warriors moved a step closer to a sixth NBA Finals appearance since 2015 with a 109-100 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, taking a 3-0 series lead.

After shooting six-of-10 from beyond the arc in Game 2, Stephen Curry was again in fine shooting touch as the series moved to Dallas, scoring 31 points on 10-of-20 shooting.

The former unanimous MVP tripped over a vendor early in the first half, but went on to overtake Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki for career 30-point playoff games while also shooting an even 50 per cent from the perimeter, adding 11 assists and five rebounds.

The Warriors found the right balance and took care of the basketball while still assertively moving it, with only 10 turnovers and 28 assists off 38 made field goals for the game.

Five Warriors scored in double figures in the Game 3 win while the team finished with a 12-point margin for points in the paint (46-34).

It counteracted their relatively disappointing shooting performance on the night, along with a big rebounding night from the team, doubling the Mavericks in offensive rebounds (14-7) for the game.

Andrew Wiggins was critical in that respect, grabbing six offensive rebounds of his own for 11 total rebounds, along with 27 points and three assists.

The Mavs could not get anything going in the half-court and generate good attempts from the perimeter despite a high volume on home court, going 13-of-44 as a team.

Luka Doncic put up 40 points on 11-of-23 shooting along with 11 rebounds but the Warriors worked to restrict the Mavs' shooters, with Reggie Bullock and Maxi Kleber shooting a combined zero-of-12 from beyond the arc.

 

 

Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd was left frustrated by his side's shot selection as they went 2-0 down to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.

Despite a strong lead after the second quarter thanks to a best-in-show Luka Doncic, who posted 42, the visitors were pegged back for a second consecutive loss at Chase Center.

The Mavs blew several chances to keep daylight between themselves and their hosts in the third quarter, but an over-reliance on attempts to bags 3s left them to suffer.

"When you go 2-for-13 and you rely on the 3, you can die by the 3," Kidd said. "And we died in the third quarter by shooting that many 3s and coming up with only two.

"If you make [3s], that's great, but you just have to understand, if you miss four in a row, you can't take the fifth.

"You've got to make it. That just puts too much stress on yourself and on your team because, if you're not getting stops on the other end, it turns into a blowout."

The Mavs face a tough road back into contention, but will take consolation from the fact a 2-0 deficit is far from insurmountable, having been knocked out by the Clippers last season with a similar advantage after two games.

They also boast Doncic, one of the best form players in the NBA right now, and the Slovenian admitted his side could have put more in.

"We weren't attacking the paint that much," he added. "But we got to attack the paint more, like they did. They attacked the paint a lot.

"They have two of the best shooters in the world, and they still attack the paint. So I think we've got to rely less on the 3."

Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry feels his side has become a well-oiled machine over the course of the season, but admitted sometimes there is nothing you can do about Luka Doncic's brilliance.

The Warriors came back from 53-34 down with seven minutes remaining in the second quarter, holding the Dallas Mavericks to 13 points in the third period, before winning the last frame 43-32 to run over the top late.

Curry top-scored for the Warriors with 32 points on 11-of-21 shooting, while Jordan Poole was terrific off the bench with 23 on seven-of-10 shooting, including 12 in the fourth quarter.

Despite the loss, Doncic scored a game-high 42 points on 12-of-23 shooting, while also dishing a game-high eight assists.

During Curry's post-game media appearance, he said he feels like the Warriors have figured a lot out defensively over the course of the season, but players like Doncic are simply "nice like that".

"[Chemistry] is something that's been slowly building over the course of the regular season," he said. 

"It didn't always show on the court, but the roles, and how we play on both ends of the floor, everybody is comfortable with what they're being asked to do.

"Even [Wiggins] – he has a tough challenge of chasing Luka pretty much everywhere, every time he's out there on the floor. 

"He understands he's going to get scored on – because Luka is nice like that – but over the course of 48 minutes you figure out how to wear him down a little bit, and go back at him on the offensive end."

He went on to say he does not think about the Mavericks' lack of playoff experience, with the Warriors instead focusing on imposing their will.

"It's not [Dallas' lack of experience] – it's just the supreme confidence in what we do," he said.

"You don't really know what they're talking about in the huddle, you don't feel what's going through their mind, it's just you imposing your will.

"For us, the experience, and the chemistry – obviously this group is a bit different – but we have that attitude and spirit that we feel we're never out of it. I think only one game in this playoff run we've been severely outmatched from start-to-finish.

"That belief then turns into execution in the game, and you can feel the momentum. It's more focused on what we do, and when you have the opportunity to stick in the dagger, or come up with three stops in a row, those are the times when you feel that good energy."

Curry also touched on the Mavs' hot start, which saw them put up 72 points in the first half, and how the Warriors can make large deficits disappear in a hurry.

"We knew they were going to come out aggressive, and making shots," he said. 

"We didn't think they were going to be that hot – it seemed like no matter what we did they always found the right guy, and they had no hesitation to shoot it.

"They had 15 threes in the first half – it felt like a lot – but all of a sudden you look at the scoreboard and we got it down to two at one point, and then it ballooned out to 14.

"14, for us, is more than manageable if we come out and influence the game, starting on the defensive end.

"When you can limit a team like that to 13 points [in a quarter] – it wasn't like a flurry, but it seemed like we regained the momentum, and slowly, and methodically walked them down.

"The first six minutes of the fourth quarter was kind of the real momentum shift – it gave the crowd some life, and gave us some life, and allowed us to run away with the win."

Game 3 and Game 4 will head to Dallas, and if the Warriors can win just one, they will head back to Golden State for Game 5 with a 3-1 lead.

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