With another season in the books, the New York Knicks are aiming to improve their team by any means necessary. With Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, and Derrick Rose still on the roster, the Knicks have a starting point to build around this summer.
They might also have a unique advantage in the Jalen Brunson sweepstakes. According to Pat Ambrose, Brunson’s coach at Adlai Stevenson High School, Jalen has a deep and special connection to Derrick Rose, who apparently helped to train and develop Brunson's game many years ago.
The veteran guard is yet another link between the Knicks and coveted point guard Jalen Brunson, their bond tracing back to Brunson’s formative years in Illinois when Rose was the Bulls’ star point guard, and Brunson had dreams of playing in the NBA one day.
“Jalen would go over to the Bulls facility and practice with the Bulls players,” Pat Ambrose, Brunson’s coach at Adlai Stevenson High School, who remains close to him, told The Post in a phone interview. “That’s where he became good friends with Derrick Rose. So your story gets deep with the Knicks. Derrick saw that young Jalen was a very, very good player, and Derrick was a Chicago kid and really started to mentor Jalen basketball-wise.”
Back then, Brunson’s father, Rick, was an assistant on coach Tom Thibodeau’s staff, the same role he now has with the Knicks. It’s yet another layer, on top of Brunson’s relationship with Thibodeau, president Leon Rose, and executive William Wesley — in addition to the fact Rose’s son, Sam, is Brunson’s agent — that may work in the Knicks’ favor as they look to land the talented 25-year-old who is coming off a career year.
Brunson isn't going to be taking home an MVP trophy any time soon, but the spark he provided for Dallas was crucial in getting them to the Western Conference Finals.
In New York, he could thrive with room to shine and alongside teammates who may be a better fit for what he brings to the court.
Regardless, the Knicks will be keeping their eye on him this summer with hopes of luring him to the franchise once and for all.