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Jalen Brunson Reveals Real Reason He Left Mavs for Knicks

Spoiler alert: It wasn’t just because of family ties to the Knicks.

When the Dallas Mavericks lost Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks in free agency this offseason, many believed it was inevitable due to the family ties he has in New York.

Although there is likely some truth to that, as evident by the NBA being poised to launch a tampering investigation involving the Knicks, the Mavs themselves might’ve been the ones who pushed Brunson out the door before free agency ever began.

This week, Brunson joined J.J. Redick’s “The Old Man And The Three podcast and revealed the real reason he decided to leave the team he previously thought he’d play his entire career with.

“Business came knocking on the door,” said Brunson. “It was time to just at least look. I had to do my due diligence and look and see what was out there.”

Brunson apparently wanted to sign a four-year, $56 million contract extension (the same one Dorian Finney-Smith signed in February) with the Mavs, not only before last season started, but again in January. But the Mavs didn’t offer him the extension until after the trade deadline, which sent a signal that Brunson might have been being used as trade bait. At that point, it was pretty much the beginning of the end, although Brunson remained professional about it throughout the remainder of the season.

“People might not believe it. I talked about it with my dad since year one or two, said, ‘Yeah, we’re going to be here for the rest of my career.’ That’s what I thought.”

It’s easy to envision Brunson signing a Mavs extension offer before last season, given the rough 2021 postseason he had against the Los Angeles Clippers. However, it’s hard to believe Brunson would’ve really accepted that $56 million extension in January after he had already become a full-time starter and helped the Mavs through their roughest patch of the season in December. He had already made himself a lot more than $56 million by that point.

Now, as Brunson gets cozy in his new home, he knows the pressures of playing in New York are no joke … especially when you’re a $100 million man who doesn’t play with Luka Doncic anymore.

“There’s going to be expectations for sure. I don’t think ‘target’ is the term, but the expectations are definitely going to be there,” said Brunson. “Knicks fans are die-hard basketball fans. People are expecting a lot, not just from me, but from this team.

“I just got to go out there and show it. There’s a lot I can say but at the same time, it’s not about what you say, but what you do. It’s all about your actions. … I’ve always been a person who kind of doesn’t say a lot. I’d rather show it versus say it. Let’s just say I’m ready to go.”

You can follow Dalton Trigg on Twitter at @dalton_trigg

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