Mark Cuban is mad, folks, and not because of what you might have thought.
The landlord and head honcho of the Dallas Mavericks, Cuban, age 64, put together an unscheduled press conference on Wednesday evening before the Mavs took on the Sacramento Kings. Nobody had a clue it was happening until Cuban abruptly announced it.
The main topic to address: Jalen Brunson’s decision to leave TX and sign with the New York Knicks last summer.
The main reason for that, according to the very own Shark Tank Man: Jalen Brunson’s father, former New York Knicks guard, and current New York Knicks assistant coach Rick.
Cuban had the audacity to claim that the prospective negotiations between his organization and Brunson to extend his deal with the Mavs “went south when the parents got involved,” also claiming that Dallas never was given a chance to enter a bidding/matching war for the point guard.
The Knicks, mind you, lost a second-round pick after the NBA determined they started to negotiate with Brunson earlier than they should.
“This outcome reflected a finding, following an investigation, that the Knicks engaged in free agency discussions involving Jalen Brunson prior to the date when such discussions were permitted,” the NBA said in a statement announcing the decision.
Brunson eventually agreed to a four-year, $104 million contract with the New York Knicks, signed and announced on June 30, 2022.
If Cuban is to be believed—he went the distance on Wednesday by reading some text messages he exchanged with Mavs general manager Nico Harrison and Brunson’s agent Aaron Mintz—then “Brunson never communicated with the Mavericks last summer” and Dallas “didn’t know what number to bid for.”
“They never gave us a number. Knowing the numbers now, I would’ve paid it in a heartbeat, but he wouldn’t have come anyway,” Cuban said. “There’s just no possible way that it was about money.”
It must be mentioned that Brunson was willing to sign a $56 million extension with the Mavs back in Jan. 2022. Both Jalen and Rick made that clear, although Cuban disputed those claims on his midweek impromptu. On and on, Cuban repeated that the Mavericks “weren’t given an opportunity to negotiate” before Brunson signed a $104 million deal with the Knicks last June.
“We thought that we could turn him around,” Cuban admitted on Wednesday. “We wanted to re-sign him. We thought, because [Brunson] kept on telling us he liked being here.”
Cuban claimed that “[Brunson] never gave us an indication (he wanted to leave),” before stating that “it was only the parents that were the issue. Even the agent said, ‘Worst case, we can do a sign-and-trade.’”
Of course, Cuban didn’t mention that Dallas could have actually handed Brunson the full dough and then some. The Knicks' $104 million, four-year deal was neat. The Mavs could have offered more money and one more year because they were in possession of Brunson’s bird rights.
Writing for Sports Illustrated, Grant Afseth detailed the potential deal Dallas could offer Brunson.
The maximum contract offer the Mavericks can provide Brunson is a five-year deal worth $175.45 million. Dallas can use Bird rights to exceed to salary cap for a $30.25 million first-year salary with 8-percent annual raises.
After that, he compared that offer with the one at the reach of the New York Knicks, clearly below the numbers Dallas could have reached.
At most, the Knicks could offer a four-year, $130.1 million contract. They can offer the same starting salary but are limited to just providing 5-percent annual raises. Again, New York would need to create salary cap space for any offer.
Choleric Cuban kept whining.
“They didn’t give us a number. I mean, you would think that when you’re the incumbent team and you can match anything, that’s the way it works. Right? You have a relationship with the agent and they want to at least give you a chance because you helped develop the player,” the Mavs owner said. “You had him for four years. OK, let’s work together.”
Next line in Mark’s to-do list: extending the Kyrie Irving Experience.