“I’m really focused on Cleveland right now. That’s all,” Brunson told reporters after Tuesday’s practice in preparation for their first-round matchup against the Cavaliers.
In a surprise interview with reporters last week, Cuban said “things went south when [Brunson’s] parents got involved.”
Brunson sought the maximum $55.5 million, four-year extension before the start of the last season, but the Mavericks did not extend the offer. Brunson was coming off a disappointing third year with the Mavericks.
With a chip on his shoulder, Brunson went on to have a breakout year, including a stellar run in the playoffs to help the Mavericks reach the Western Conference Finals.
The Mavericks again had a chance to lock up Brunson before the trade deadline but did not do it because it would hinder their ability to include him in a star trade, which did not materialize.
Cuban denied the Brunson’s claims they were willing to accept the $55.5 million, four-year extension at that time as “he read reporters text messages that he said were sent by Mavs general manager Nico Harrison and Brunson’s agent Aaron Mintz in late January and early February 2022. One of the texts from Harrison stated that Rick Brunson indicated that Jalen expected to receive a contract with salaries in the range of $18-23 million per year,” according to ESPN.
Brunson went on to leave them in the free agency and signed with the Knicks to join his father, Rick, who was hired as assistant coach one month prior, and his godfather Leon Rose, the Knicks president.
Brunson signed a $104 million, four-year deal, the largest contract in NBA history for a former second-round pick. But he justified the signing with a career year on the first season of the deal, leading the Knicks back to the postseason as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Luka Doncic Denies Trade Request Report Amid Knicks Rumors
Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic denied that he’s about to request a trade in the summer of 2024 if things do not significantly progress in Dallas.
“I’m happy here [in Dallas],” Doncic said during his exit interview. “There’s nothing to worry about.”
Doncic and the Mavericks unraveled since Brunson left them in free agency. They traded for Kyrie Irving midseason, but they went 7-18 in the final two months of the season in a stunning collapse from sixth seed in the West to out of the play-in tournament.
Jalen Brunson’s Hand Getting Better as Playoffs Get Near
Brunson skipped the final three games of the regular season and entered load management which the team labeled as right hand [injury] maintenance.
Brunson gave an update on Tuesday, showing his readiness for the first-round series against the Cavaliers.
“[My [right hand] is getting better. I’m able to do whatever I need to do,” Brunson said. “It definitely helps [that I rested]. I’m ready. I’m ready to get going now.”
Game 1 between the Knicks and Cavaliers is on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Cleveland.