Video: Jalen Brunson Explains Why He Left Mavericks For Knicks

Jalen Brunson Signs With Knicks, Doncic NBA MVP Odds Improve By 29%

While speaking to the All the Smoke podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Jalen Brunson explained why he left the Dallas Mavericks to sign with the New York Knicks.

Jalen Brunson Explains Why He Left Mavericks For Knicks

Before the 2021-2022 season, Brunson was entering the last year of his rookie contract and wanted to re-sign with Dallas.

“I really did want to stay in Dallas,” Brunson told Barnes and Jackson. “I think before my fourth season in Dallas, my last season in Dallas, we tried to extend our contract. Whatever we can get, the most we can get was like four years and $55 million. We wanted to do that. I wanted to stay there.”

Even though his agent encouraged him to get more money in the offseason, Brunson wanted to be “safe” because he liked his role played alongside Luka Doncic.

However, the Dallas front office told Brunson they wanted to wait and see his play for the first 20-25 games. With Doncic out due to injury, Brunson started to excel, averaging around 20.0 ppg and 6.0 ppg. At the 20-25 game mark, Brunson went back to the front office, saying if the deal was still there, he’d do it.

“Still, it was no,” Brunson said. “It wasn’t a hard no. It was just like, ‘We want to see.'”

At the trade deadline, Brunson thought he would be shipped out of Dallas since he was playing well, but it never happened. A contract offer finally arrived after the deadline, but Brunson believed the terms needed to change because of his play.

“And then, the deal came on the table after the trade deadline. I was like, ‘No. I think I’ve outgrown that now,'” Brunson said. “Personally, that’s what I thought. I was like, ‘I think I’ve outgrown that.'”

Jalen Brunson Did Not Hear From Mavericks After Playoffs

Heading into the playoffs, Doncic was injured and missed multiple games in Dallas’ first-round series against the Utah Jazz. Brunson carried the load offensively, scoring 41 points in a Game 2 victory.

Dallas defeated the Jazz in the first round and the Suns in the second round to reach the Western Conference Finals. Brunson averaged 21.6 ppg, 4.6 rpb, and 3.7 apg in 18 games that postseason.

After losing to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, Brunson recalls comments made by then-Mavericks owner Mark Cuban about his contract situation.

“After losing the Western Conference Finals, I remember seeing something on Twitter after the game, and it was like Mark [Cuban] saying, ‘We can pay him the most money.’ And so he says that in the interview right after the game,” Brunson said. “And then so I’m thinking, like, I’m okay. After that, it was like crickets, from my point of view, I can’t speak to anyone else. I’m not. Just from my point of view, it was crickets.”

Brunson turned his attention to the Knicks, who were “making moves” that he liked. With East Coast roots, the decision became clear: sign with the Knicks. Brunson signed a four-year, $104 million contract with the Knicks during the summer of 2022. The Knicks were stripped of a 2025 second-round pick for tampering with Brunson before the start of free agency. However, the Knicks would do that again in a heartbeat because Brunson has been worth every penny.

Brunson has become a star in New York. In his first season with the Knicks, Brunson led New York to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, averaging 24.0 ppg, 3.5 rpb, and 6.2 apg in the regular season.

This season, Brunson is up to 27.6 ppg and has the Knicks as a top-four team in the East. For his efforts, Brunson made his first All-Star Team in 2024.

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