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Jalen Brunson Opens Up About Failed Negotiations with Mavericks

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Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson | Image by Hoops Rumors

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Following a breakout fourth season in the NBA for the Dallas Mavericks, guard Jalen Brunson hit free agency and signed a four-year $104 million contract with the New York Knicks.

On Friday, Brunson appeared on his former teammate JJ Redick’s podcast “The Old Man and the Three,” and admitted he believed he would remain with the Mavericks for the entirety of his career. Still, he had to put business before his desire.

“We were actually just talking about it, my dad, we were on vacation,” Brunson said. “As soon as we got there I was like ‘Dad, remember last summer when we were here we were talking about signing an extension as soon as we get an opportunity? We basically just doubled that.’ It was crazy.

“Obviously 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. I started having a monster season and I went to them before they officially offered (an extension) to me. By then, it was kind of too late and the business came knocking on the door, so it was time to at least look.

“I had to do my due diligence and look and see what was out there. Honestly, people might not believe it, but I talked about it with my dad since Year 1 or 2, I said, ‘Yeah, we’re going to be here the rest of my career.’ That’s what I thought.”

Around this time last year, it is believed Brunson was open to signing a team-friendly contract extension with the Mavericks.

However, the two sides did not start discussing a contract extension until mid-season, when Brunson was in the midst of a career year and had established himself as the team’s clear-cut second option behind All-Star Luka Doncic.

Brunson reportedly declined a Dallas offer of a four-year, $55.5 million contract extension after the trade deadline in February.

Brunson’s father, Rick Brunson, told ESPN during the playoffs that his son would have signed the $55 million deal with the Mavericks if it had been offered in January.

By April, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported that sources around the NBA believed Brunson could command $20-25 million annually in free agency.

Brunson finished the regular season averaging 16.3 points and 4.8 assists per game and improved on his numbers in the postseason. He helped lead the Mavericks to the Western Conference finals for the first time in 11 years, averaging 21.6 points per game during the playoffs.

After the season, the Mavericks were reportedly willing to offer Brunson a five-year contract with around a $20 million annual value once the league’s free agency period opened on June 30 at 6 p.m. ET.

However, after the free-agent signing period opened, Dallas never got a chance to make an official contract offer as Brunson quickly settled on signing with the Knicks.

Brunson’s negotiations with the Knicks are currently the subject of a tampering investigation by the NBA, given how quickly the deal came together after the free agency period opened. Teams are not permitted by league rules to engage in contract negotiations with free agent players until the signing period opens.      

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