Helping You Understand Why Mark Cuban Blames Rick Brunson For The Mavericks Losing Jalen Brunson

Dallas Mavericks governor Mark Cuban is blaming New York Knicks assistant coach Rick Brunson for the Mavericks inability to re-sign Jalen Brunson last summer. His absence is being felt as the Mavericks fight to get into the play-in tournament. But is Rick to blame or should Cuban be looking closer to home?

“Where it went south was when Rick took over, when the parent took over, or parents took over,” Cuban said.

“‘We aren’t gonna make a decision on JB based on what Aaron says his dad wants in July,'” Cuban said, quoting a text from Harrison. “And Nico back then is saying — this is in February — ‘I agree with you, but I think just the New York thing is too tied to their family to overcome.'”

What Really Happened With The Jalen Brunson Deal?

Nico is Mavericks’ general manager Nico Harrison and Aaron is Jalen’s agent Aaron Mintz of CAA.

Cuban says that the Mavericks weren’t given the opportunity to negotiate with Jalen before he signed his four year $104 million deal with the Knicks.

“We thought that we could turn him around,” Cuban said when asked why Dallas didn’t trade Brunson before last season’s deadline. “We wanted to re-sign him and we wanted to keep the season going together. We thought, ’cause JB kept on telling us he liked being here. JB never gave us an indication. It was only the parents that were the issue. Even the agent said, worst case, we can do a sign-and-trade.”

Jalen and his father Rick remain adamant that it was Dallas who didn’t make an offer.

“There were two times that I thought we had offers on the table before the season, and then around, I think December or January, they looked the other way,” Jalen Brunson told B/R. “They had every right in the world to do so. I don’t blame them for making any business decisions. That’s on them.

“At the same time, I respect them. They brought me into this league and jump-started my career. Business is business. My four years in Dallas were special. When I first got drafted there, I had that mindset of seeing myself being there for a very long time. My vet at the time, J.J. Barea, he taught me so much and he was there for such a long time. I wanted that role of being with the Mavericks for the long haul of my career. I truly loved that place. As I continued to get older, I got better, and I got more opportunities to showcase my game.”

Somebody is not telling the truth here. Which is it?

The reality of the NBA is that teams and agents lie to the media all the time. This is about leverage and making sure you have it in any negotiation.

The Mavericks owned Brunson’s Bird rights and could have offered him far more money than the Knicks. But they either did or didn’t.

As for the Knicks, team president Leon Rose is Jalen’s godfather and was Rick’s agent. Team executive vice president and special adviser William Wesley has known Rick for decades and Jalen since he was a baby.

So Cuban’s point about family ties is legitimate.

The Future In Dallas

Jalen is gone, so this is less about Jalen and more about the future. It will be a rocky offseason in Dallas, and Cuban needs to calm the waters. He has a 24-year-old generational superstar in Luka Dončić who is not happy right now, a mercurial point guard in Kyrie Irving who will be a free agent at season’s end, and a decision to make about head coach Jason Kidd.

Cuban might be signaling through the media by saying he blames Rick for Jalen leaving that he doesn’t want Irving’s agent and stepmother, Shetellia Riley Irving, to be too involved in the process. He could also be signaling to Kyrie and other free agents that he pays players and any rumors that he doesn’t are not true.

NBA players communicate regularly about which teams do right by them and which do not.

It’s going to be an interesting summer in Dallas with a lot of decisions to be made, Cuban needs to get his house in order if they intend to take advantage of Dončić’s prime years.

Back to top