The Dallas Mavericks entered the offseason confident they would re-sign Jalen Brunson after his breakout fourth NBA season. The 6’1 guard became a starter and the team’s second-leading scorer as the Mavs reached the conference finals. Brunson seemed happy in Dallas as he continually improved his game.
The Mavericks underestimated the power of money and family in JB’s free agency. New York offered him a chance to come back to the east coast, and to play for his father and a group of people Jalen has known since he was wearing diapers. Those bonds were the only ones strong enough to draw him away from Dallas.
Jalen Brunson joined The Old Man and the Three podcast with former teammate J.J. Redick to discuss his decision to join the Knicks and his time in Dallas. Fans should check out the entire interview, which features a ton of insight from Brunson on the Mavs playoff run and his free agency decision. Here is a closer look at the highlights.
Jalen Brunson on the Dallas Mavericks and why left for the Knicks
Brunson made it clear during the interview that even he could not have dreamed of signing a $100 million contract after the Mavs were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by the LA Clippers for the second straight year in 2021. See his response below.
"No, not at all. We were actually just talking about it with my dad. We were on vacation. We went to Jamaica, kind of the same time, as the year before. As soon as we got there I was like, ‘Dad, remember the last time we were here, we were talking about signing the extension as soon as we get the opportunity?’ We basically just doubled that."
The Knicks offered an incredible opportunity and an unthinkable payday. Putting the two together made it impossible for Brunson to pass up.
JB made it clear how he feels about the Mavericks, and fans can see what he had to say about Dallas below.
"I loved my time in Dallas. I wanted to be in Dallas. I thought I was going to be in Dallas for a long time, and like you said, I started having a monster season. I went to them before they officially offered it to me, and then by then, it was kind of too late. The business came knocking on the door, and so it was time to at least look. I had to do my due diligence and look."
He closed that thought with this.
"Honestly, people might not believe it, but I talked about it with my dad since year one or two, and said we are going to be here for the rest of our career, and that is what I thought."
Fans can watch Brunson talk about leaving the Mavericks in the clip below, but it is clear that the front office should take the blame for his exit with zero return. The old regime structuring his contract, so he does not become a restricted free agent is the start. Not offering the extension before last season was a miscalculation, and one the Mavericks will spend years paying for.
Dallas could have traded Brunson at the deadline if they knew they would be unable to re-sign him this summer. There were plenty of offers, but the Mavericks held firm. They reached the conference finals, but losing your second-leading scorer for nothing certainly stings now.
Redick also asked Brunson if he sees the chatter about him being overpaid, and how he reacts to that.
"I’m definitely not ignorant to that chatter, and it is impossible not to see it. That’s the first thing. Look, I’m honored that I’ve got this opportunity to be in that club of making whatever the number is, but I think for me, no matter what the number is, nothing changes."
The Dallas Mavericks lost a great player and person in Jalen Brunson. Hopefully, he thrives in New York and takes his game to another level. JB is an incredible talent that knows how to win. The best is still yet to come from the 25-year-old, and MFFLs should be rooting for his success in New York.