Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is not losing sleep over Jalen Brunson’s move to the New York Knicks.
But Cuban essentially dismissed those talks. He is leaving it all up to the NBA.
“That’s all the league stuff,” Cuban said via The New York Daily News. “That’s not for us to say. It’s up to them.”
Under league rules, the NBA will not start an investigation unless and until the Mavericks or another team files a complaint.
Cuban confirmed to some Knicks beat reporters in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas that they did not get a chance to meet Brunson before the point guard made his decision. But the billionaire Mavericks owner is not harboring any ill will towards Brunson or the Knicks, adding he understood the circumstances of Brunson’s decision.
“No hard feelings. I wish him nothing but the best,” Cuban said via Newsday. “You bust your [butt], and you have that choice. He deserves it.”
“It happens. It’s the way this league works. It’s a business. You trade a player; you say it’s a business. You lose a player. It’s a business. It’s just the way it goes.”
The Mavericks twice failed to lock up Brunson to a cheaper contract extension worth $55.5 million in the last offseason and before the February trade deadline. Rick Brunson, Jalen’s father, told ESPN in April that they were amenable to a contract extension had the Mavericks made an offer.
“I told [Jalen] that once the season has started, that’s it,” Rick Brunson said. “I told the Mavericks, ‘Once the season has started, there’s no contract talk,’ and I went back against my word. In January, I thought he did enough where he deserved [the extension]. I said, ‘Hey, take the money, man.’ He wants security. He wants to live here. And they declined.
“He didn’t turn s*** down. Y’all declined first. When y’all came back to him, we said, ‘Hey, we just want to finish out the season and go from there.'”
It was too late when the Mavericks finally extended an offer after the trade deadline when Brunson was already peaking towards his breakthrough playoff performance.
Cuban also dismissed the reports about the Mavericks being upset by the loud presence of Knicks executives William Wesley and Allan Houston and their star player Julius Randle in Game 1 of the opening round of the playoffs.
“I don’t give a sh**! Why would I care?” Cuban said. “It’s not like, ‘Okay, we don’t go to the playoff game; that changes what we think and what we’re doing.’ I don’t care.”
Call it indifference, overconfidence, or however you want to frame it, but the bottom line is the Mavericks missed their chances to keep Brunson away from the Knicks, whose strong ties with their former point guard were well-documented.
On the flip side, this new Knicks front office finally delivered after a series of missed opportunities — from Chris Paul to Fred Van Vleet — in the past free agencies. Finally, they have a competent point guard entering his prime.
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