It’s not necessarily Jalen Brunson or bust.
While the Mavericks free agent is clearly the Knicks’ top target to fill their cavernous hole at point guard, there are other options out there to improve the team now that they have cleared nearly $20 million of cap space and are planning to create even more.
The Post’s Zach Braziller breaks down some other possibilities as the free agency period nears:
The Pacers have put the 29-year-old lead guard on the trade block now that they have young backcourt players to build around, such as Tyrese Haliburton and first-round pick Bennedict Mathurin. Brogdon is attainable for the Knicks.
The former Virginia star has been a productive player throughout his six-year NBA career, averaging 15.5 points, 4.8 assists and shooting 37.6 percent from 3-point range.
He does come with injury risk. Brogdon only appeared in 36 games last year and hasn’t appeared in more than 64 contests in a single season since his rookie year. He’s also expensive. He is owed $22.6 million in 2022-23, and $22.5 million each of the subsequent two seasons, according to Spotrac.
He is by far the most unlikely of the options on this list, and it would take a haul. The rebuilding Spurs, however, are willing to move Murray for several first-round picks, according to Bleacher Report. The Knicks own 11 first-round picks over the next seven years, and as many as four in next year’s draft.
The 6-foot-4 guard would be a franchise-changer, and playing Murray alongside RJ Barrett would give coach Tom Thibodeau one of the better backcourts in the league. Murray is coming off a phenomenal season, in which he posted 21.1 points, 9.2 assists and 8.3 rebounds and is still only 25 years old with two years left on his contract.
The former Duke standout has carved out a strong role for himself with the Grizzlies, emerging this year as a key piece to one of the best young rosters in the league. As a free agent, Jones may now be able to cash in.
A quality defender who rarely turns the ball over himself, he’s coming off the best season of his career, one in which he notched career highs in scoring (8.7), rebounds (2.4) and 3-point shooting (39.0 percent) in just 21.2 minutes per game. His numbers were even better when Ja Morant was out and his role expanded, the 6-foot Jones notching 12.7 points and 6.6 assists in 23 games.
With Memphis landing Kennedy Chandler of Tennessee in the NBA draft, Jones is likely headed for a new team.
As with Brogdon, there are injury concerns. He is coming off a torn ACL and is a bit long in the tooth, at the age of 31. But he is a true point guard who can really run a team, which the Knicks have obviously lacked for years.
Rubio was having a terrific season last year for the Cavaliers before getting hurt, producing 13.1 points and 6.6 assists. The Knicks could give him a light workload, rotating in Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickley and Miles “Deuce” McBride at the point.
He’s a local guy, hailing from Fairview, N.J., and wouldn’t be too expensive. The 6-foot-9 Anderson isn’t a star — his best season came in 2020-21 with the Grizzlies when he averaged 12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists — but he does a lot of things well.
Perhaps most importantly for the Knicks, the free-agent forward defends and can be a secondary playmaker. This past season, he produced a defensive rating of 106, tied for the best on Memphis.
It wouldn’t be a splashy move, but could be effective, particularly if the Knicks are unable to land a new point guard and could use more high-level passers.