At the end of the day, Jason Kidd has no hard feelings on Jalen Brunson’s decision to head on what he believed a much greener pasture.
Kidd is indeed happy that he served as an integral component of Brunson’s emergence and the eventual big pay day he gained from the New York Knicks this offseason.
“The biggest thing is I’m happy he got paid,’’ Kidd said on the “All the Smoke’’ podcast, via New York Post’s Marc Berman. “He helped us. I know [Mavericks owner Mark] Cuban doesn’t like this, but I love when I can get a player get paid.’’
Brunson, who spent the majority of his career playing off the bench as a backup guard, was given an enormous opportunity by then first-year coach Kidd to shine. He was slated to start frequently at the backcourt with superstar Luka Doncic and eventually became his right-hand man in carrying the Mavs’ offensive load.
As such, it turned out wonderful for Brunson. Averaging career highs in points (16.3), assists (4.8), boards (3.9) in an efficient 50/37/84 shooting splits in three areas for 79 games, he helped Dallas to reach its third-straight year of playoff appearance and a trip to the Western Conference Finals after 11 seasons of waiting.
Upon the rise of his value as an unrestricted free-agent, Brunson decided to enter the east coast, and agreed with the New York Knicks on a reported four-year, $104 million contract.
As the newest guy in town, this gives him a major chance to run the show in the garden, and Kidd can only be delighted by that.
“I tell a player on the first day of camp, ‘Tell me what you want,’ ” said Kidd. “Everyone wants shots. Everyone wants minutes. But that’s not the truth. They want to get paid and want to play.
“Cool. I can help you do that. The other part of that is I’m going to ask for a couple of things. Trust, communicate and play hard. If you ask Brunson, he will tell you he listened [to me] and good things happened. I just want to put people in position to be successful.’’
Brunson will face the Mavs at home for the first time as a Knick on Dec. 3 this upcoming season, and all eyes will certainly be directed on how both sides will fare after the breakup.
“There’s 30 companies in the NBA,’’ Kidd reiterated. “We all can’t stay in the same company. For him to go to New York to get paid and an opportunity to run his own team. I’m happy for him.’’