Knicks lucked up on Jalen Brunson’s botched four-year, $55 million contract extension with the Mavs in 2021-22

NBA: New York Knicks at Charlotte Hornets

The New York Knicks can thank the Dallas Mavericks for slacking off on extending Jalen Brunson in the 2021-22 NBA season. Brunson told Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on “All the Smoke” that he wanted to stay in Dallas, but the front office dragged him along without elongating his contract as his value rose in that time:

“So there was a period where Luka [Doncic] went out and I started to start. I was playing really well, I think I was averaging like 20 and like six, maybe, whatever. It was about that 20-, 25-[game] mark. And so we went back, we’re like, ‘Hey, if the deal is there, we’re thinking about it.’ Like, ‘I’ll do it, like right now.’ Still, it was no. It wasn’t a hard no — it was just like, ‘We want to see, we want to see,'” Brunson said.

Brunson’s breakout in the second half of the 2021-22 season made him disinterested in a late Mavs extension

By the time Brunson finally got a four-year, $55 million offer after that season’s trade deadline, he could already taste more money waiting for him in the free agent market.

Luckily, he banked on himself and got almost double that amount when the Knicks inked him to a $104 million deal for the same amount of years in the summer of 2022.

Considering Brunson is putting up MVP-caliber numbers individually while leading the Knicks’ charge in his emergent All-Star season this year, the franchise got a steal.

Brunson’s move to the Knicks put him in position to become an All-Star

Had Brunson remained in Dallas, we may not have seen him sprout into the performer he is today. The Mavericks’ coaching staff did not stifle Brunson, but it was clear that Doncic was the alpha on the team, and his league-leading 37.3% usage rate made him the overwhelming focal point of their system.

All things worked out in the end, not only for Brunson, but for the Mavs as well. The Knicks have a franchise player that looks like he’ll give them the best chance to win it all since 1999 while the Mavs were later able to acquire former 2016 NBA champion Kyrie Irving.

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