Jalen Brunson is a New York Knick not because of a desire to leave the Dallas Mavericks, rather the business side of the NBA taking over.
Brunson, after a breakout fourth season with the Mavs, hit free agency and signed a four-year $104 million deal with the Knicks. This season he had proven with Dallas that he could be a nice complimentary piece to Luka Doncic, and is also capable of taking over a game on occasion.
This time last year, Brunson would have pounced on the opportunity to sign an extension with the Mavericks. But by the time any sort of offer started coming together, it was during the season and Brunson was having a huge year, so it made more sense for him to just hit the market and bet on himself. Appearing on his former teammate JJ Redick’s podcast “The Old Man and the Three”, Brunson admitted he thought he'd stay with the Mavericks.
"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.”
Brunson’s free agency negotiations are currently the subject of a tampering investigation given how things came together with the Knicks. Until that gets resolved and Brunson finally gets some games under his belt in New York, the situation will continue to feel a little weird.