Now it can be told.
Cuban told reporters, “things went south when [Jalen Brunson’s] parents got involved.”
Cuban was referring to Rick Brunson, who the Knicks later hired as an assistant coach before free agency began in July.
In April, Rick Brunson told ESPN that the Mavericks did not offer his son, Jalen, the four-year, $55.5 million maximum extension he was eligible to sign before his breakout year and what became his final season in Dallas.
In January, one month before the 2021-22 season’s trade deadline, Rick Brunson approached the Mavericks again. Still, they declined again to offer the maximum extension because they would have restricted to include Jalen Brunson had a star trade materialized.
But according to Cuban, Brunson’s representatives demanded to clear enough room to pay their client $18 to 23 million per year.
Jalen Brunson took off until the playoffs, helping the Mavericks reach the Western Conference Finals. By then, it was apparent he would cost a lot more than $55.5 million to re-sign with the Mavericks.
Shortly after they got eliminated by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, Cuban sounded confident on TV that they would retain Jalen Brunson.
“We can pay him more than anybody,” Cuban said. “And I think he wants to stay, and that’s what is most important.”
But their confidence quickly eroded when the Knicks successfully executed a series of salary dump trades that opened up the necessary cap room to pursue Jalen Brunson.
Cuban and the Mavericks gave up as they felt Jalen Brunson joining his father, Rick, with the Knicks was inevitable.
Brunson signed with the Knicks for a whopping $104 million deal over four years, the biggest contract ever signed by a second-round selection.
The NBA launched a tampering investigation shortly after and found the Knicks guilty. They were penalized a second-round pick in the 2025 NBA Draft.
But it was all worth it as Jalen Brunson took off to another level and led the Knicks to the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.
On the other hand, the Mavericks were still reeling from his loss as they are currently half-game out of the play-in tournament with three games left in their schedule.
Jalen Brunson Shocked of Mavs’ Struggles
Before Cuban’s tell-all interview, Jalen Brunson had no comment except for shock at his former team’s struggles after he left.
“I am surprised. I honestly have no comment about that. It’s definitely surprising,” Brunson said.
The Mavericks traded for Kyrie Irving in the hopes that he could replicate Brunson’s role as a secondary ball handler next to Luka Doncic but to no success.
Jalen Brunson Shut Down Ahead of NBA Playoffs
The Knicks opted to rest Brunson during Wednesday’s road game against the Indiana Pacers. It will likely be the case for the remainder of the regular season, as the Knicks have already locked in the fifth seed.
Brunson said before he was shut down that he would love to play to be in rhythm heading into the playoffs. Apparently, the Knicks want to keep him fresh and avoid injury.