Jalen Brunson Reveals Reason for Ditching ‘Amazing’ Mavericks for Knicks

It’s been a maddeningly up-and-down season for the Dallas Mavericks. Once upon a time, the team was at among the cream of the crop in the Western Conference race and Luka Doncic was among the favorites for MVP; now, the Mavs are a one-game losing streak away from tumbling out of the playoffs entirely.

Like it or not, this season will almost surely be remembered for who the Mavericks added (ahem, Kyrie Irving), and perhaps more importantly, who they lost, including guard Jalen Brunson, who departed this summer to the New York Knicks in free agency.

The team’s failure to find a replacement playmaker for Brunson (remember the Kemba Walker experiment?) thus caused the team to move an excellent defender in Dorian Finney-Smith for Kyrie Irving.

But it all begins with Brunson. And recently, the former Mavs guard explained what went down behind the scenes heading into free agency last year and why he ultimately left the “amazing” organization.

“There were two times that I thought we had offers on the table before the season, and then around, I think December or January, they looked the other way,” Brunson told Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report. “They had every right in the world to do so. I don’t blame them for making any business decisions. That’s on them.”

Does Brunson wish things were different? On one hand, he gets to play with his father, who is on the coaching staff in New York. On the other hand…

“I can’t say anything bad about Dallas,” Brunson told Haynes, “but obviously I wish things would’ve happened differently.”

Jalen Brunson Thanks Mavericks Coaches

While Brunson gets the luxury of being coached by his father in New York, he’s certainly grateful for the Mavericks coaches for unlocking part of his game.

“They brought me into this league and jump-started my career,” Brunson explained. “Business is business. My four years in Dallas were special. When I first got drafted there, I had that mindset of seeing myself being there for a very long time. My vet at the time, J.J. Barea, he taught me so much and he was there for such a long time. I wanted that role of being with the Mavericks for the long haul of my career. I truly loved that place. As I continued to get older, I got better, and I got more opportunities to showcase my game.”

While Brunson shined in Dallas, he undoubtedly has been unleashed in the Big Apple. He’s having a career year, putting to bed any doubts about the four-year, $100 million deal he signed this summer.

He’s up to career-highs in points per game (23.8), assists per game (6.2), and is picking off nearly one steal per game.

Brunson Calls Time With Mavericks ‘Amazing’

According to Haynes, the Mavericks offered Brunson a four-year $55.5 million extension last year, equivalent to what the team had offered Finney-Smith around the same time.

While he learned much from the Mavericks coaching staff, the figure wasn’t enough to keep him in Dallas.

“Both coaching staffs I had there were amazing,” Brunson said. “Jason Kidd helped unlock something in me that I didn’t think would happen that fast. I was growing as a player, but when the playoffs hit, he pushed me to a new level.”

In the end, he has nothing but love for the organization that drafted him and fostered his talent:

“It was great there. The whole organization and the city of Dallas was special to me and my family. Those four years were amazing.”

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