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Mavs' Mark Cuban: 'No Hard Feelings' About Jalen Brunson Signing with Knicks

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 9, 2022

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Dallas Mavericks governor Mark Cuban doesn't begrudge guard Jalen Brunson for leaving the team in free agency in favor of the New York Knicks.

According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Cuban made it clear that he isn't upset with Brunson, saying: "No hard feelings. I wish him nothing but the best. You bust your ass and you have that choice. He deserves it."

Last week, Brunson agreed to a four-year, $104 million contract with the Knicks, ending his four-year run in Dallas.

Cuban suggested he never got a chance to match the Knicks' offer for Brunson, but understood why he left for the Big Apple, saying: "It really wasn't about the amount of money. We really didn't get a chance to make an offer. It was Jalen's choice. And I understand it. He knew those guys his entire life. He grew up there. It makes perfect sense."

Cuban was alluding to the fact that Brunson was born and raised in New Jersey, and that his father, Rick Brunson, played for the Knicks from 1999 to 2001.

The 50-year-old Brunson was hired an assistant coach by the Knicks in June, and his former agent, Leon Rose, is the Knicks' team president.

While it was always going to be tough to keep Brunson away from New York given his ties there, the Knicks may have helped themselves by working outside the NBA's free-agency guidelines.

Per Fred Katz of The Athletic, multiple people within the NBA believe the Knicks will get punished for tampering because Brunson's signing with New York was reported two days before the negotiating period officially opened for free agents.

The Knicks also made aggressive moves to clear out salary before signing Brunson, as they traded Kemba Walker, Nerlens Noel and Alex Burks to the Detroit Pistons.

Katz reported that the Mavs were "frustrated" over the notion that Brunson seemingly agreed to a deal with the Knicks before they were even technically allowed to talk.

He also reported the Mavericks were unhappy about Knicks executive William Wesley sitting courtside for a Mavs vs. Utah Jazz playoff game last season in an apparent attempt to observe Brunson.

Cuban shot down that notion, however, saying: "I don't give a s--t. Why would I care? It's not like, 'OK, we don't go to the playoff game, that changes what we think and what we're doing.' I don't care."

Regardless of whether Wesley attending a playoff game aided in the recruitment of Brunson, the Mavs are now down perhaps their second-most-important player from last year's team behind Luka Doncic.

Brunson enjoyed a career year last season across the board and even stepped up and led the Mavs to playoff wins when Doncic was out because of injury.

Dallas has been active this offseason, trading for forward Christian Wood and signing center JaVale McGee, but replacing what Brunson brought as Doncic's backcourt mate will be difficult.

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