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#pounditSaturday, April 13, 2024

Jalen Brunson reveals how badly Mavericks blew his contract negotiation

Jalen Brunson talks with the media

May 18, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson (13) participates in a press conference after game one of the 2022 western conference finals against the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

It has long been public knowledge that the Dallas Mavericks had the chance to re-sign Jalen Brunson for what would have been outstanding value during his breakout final season with the team, but they blew the opportunity through their own missteps. Two years later, Brunson is now revealing just how badly the Mavericks botched those negotiations.

In an appearance on “All The Smoke,” Brunson detailed the timeline of talks with the Mavericks during the 2021-22 season. Brunson had been eligible for a four-year, $55.5 million extension at the start of the campaign, and openly admitted that he would have taken it during the first half of the season, even as his agent was advising him that he could get more by testing the market. By his retelling, however, the Mavericks balked, even after Brunson got time in the starting lineup and took advantage of it.

“We wanted to do that. I wanted to stay there. I thought I would be there for a long time,” Brunson said. “They were like, ‘We want to see where we’re at 20, 25 games into the season.’ We were like, alright, if we’re not going to do it, I kind of don’t to do it until after the season. I’m not trying to think about this.

“There was a period when Luka (Doncic) went out and I started to start. I was playing really well. It was about that 20-25 mark. So we went back and were like, hey, if the deal is there, we’re thinking about it. I’ll do it right now. Still, it was no. It wasn’t a hard no, it was like, ‘We want to see.'”

Brunson admitted that he thought he would get traded at that year’s deadline, as he was playing well but the Mavericks were still refusing to extend him. That did not happen, and the guard was surprised when the Mavericks finally extended the offer he had wanted only after the deadline.

“The deal came on the table after the trade deadline. I was like, no, I think I’ve outgrown that now,” Brunson said.

Brunson added that owner Mark Cuban had publicly said at the end of the season that the Mavericks could offer him more money than anyone else, but after that, he only heard “crickets” from Dallas. That led him to land with the New York Knicks on a four-year, $104 million deal.

Brunson has told a version of this story before, but this is the most detail he has offered to date. By his account, the Mavericks had two chances to lock him down long-term for roughly half of what he ultimately signed for. They dragged their feet both times, and by the time they were willing, Brunson had outplayed their offer.

The Mavericks are holding their own at 32-23, but are seventh in a loaded Western Conference. They have had to make some big moves to compensate for Brunson’s departure, most notably their big trade for Kyrie Irving that cost them several useful role players.

Brunson, meanwhile, blossomed into an All-Star with the Knicks, where he is averaging 27.6 points per game this season.

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