Jalen Brunson left Dallas for New York as a free agent over the offseason after a career-altering playoff run to the Western Conference Finals with the Mavericks. Brunson leveraged his high-level play into a four-year “near-max” deal shortly after the free agent period began.
As the starting point guard on Coach Jason Kidds WCF-finalist team, Brunson averaged 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds. and 3.7 assists per game on 46.6 percent shooting from the field and 34.7 percent from beyond the arc. When Brunson and his representatives negotiated his $104 million deal, Kidd said he was happy the Villanova product got the deal.
“The biggest thing is I’m happy he got paid,’’ Kidd said on the “All the Smoke’’ podcast. “He helped us. I know [Mavericks owner Mark] Cuban doesn’t like this, but I love when I can get a player get paid.’’
This last season, Brunson emerged as Dallas’ second-best player behind Luka Doncic, forming a dynamic tandem that will leave Dallas fans asking “what-if?”The memories of Dallas’ first WCF-run since winning the 2011 title will last a lifetime for some fans.
“I tell a player on the first day of camp, ‘Tell me what you want,’ ” Kidd said. “Everyone wants shots. Everyone wants minutes. But that’s not the truth. They want to get paid and want to play.”
“Cool. I can help you do that. The other part of that is I’m going to ask for a couple of things. Trust, communicate and play hard. If you ask Brunson, he will tell you he listened [to me], and good things happened. I just want to put people in position to be successful.’’
With the departure of Brunson to New York, Dallas will look to replace Brunson with Spencer Dinwiddie at the floor general position.
The Knicks are being investigated for allegedly tampering with Brunson before free agency began. The Knicks are reportedly likely to be punished by forfeiting a draft pick. Brunson reportedly had no interest in hearing Dalass’ counteroffer while he was on vacation in Jamaica with his family, fully intent on signing in Dallas.
“There’s 30 companies in the NBA,’’ Kidd said. “We all can’t stay in the same company. For him to go to New York to get paid and an opportunity to run his own team. I’m happy for him.’’