Photo: New York Knicks/Twitter

During a recent appearance on the All The Smoke podcast, Jalen Brunson disclosed that the Dallas Mavericks declined a four-year, $55 million contract extension he was offered during his final year with the team.

The point guard expressed his desire to stay with the Mavericks, but negotiations hit a roadblock when the team opted to evaluate their situation after the first few months of the 2021-22 season.

“There was a chance,” Brunson said. “I really did want to stay in Dallas. I think before my fourth season in Dallas, last season in Dallas, we tried to extend our contract, whatever we can get. The most we can get was like four years, $55 million. Obviously we wanted to do that.

“I wanted to stay there and I thought I would be there for a long time and I liked my role there. It’s funny because my agent was like, ‘You can do so much, you can get more.’ I’m saying like, ‘Well, I just want to be safe.’ I’m not trying to gamble right now. This is not something you really gamble if it’s out there.

“But [the Mavericks] were like, we want to see where we’re at by like 20, 25 games into the season. But we were like, ‘Well, if we’re not going to do it, I kind of don’t wan to do it until after the season.’ I’m not trying to think about his [during the season],” Brunson continued.

As Brunson excelled in the starting lineup due to Luka Doncic’s injury, he anticipated the extension offer upon reaching the designated milestone of 20-25 games into the season.

“There’s a period where Luka went out and I started to start. I was playing really well. I think I was averaging like 20 and 6 maybe or whatever,” Brunson said. “It was about that 20 to 25 mark. And so we went back like, ‘If the deal is there, we’re thinking about it. I’ll do it right now.’ Still it was ‘No.’ It wasn’t a hard no, it was just like, ‘We want to see you. We want to see…'”

Since no extension was on the table, Brunson thought that the Mavericks will trade him. But that didn’t happen.

“Trade deadline comes. I’m thinking like if I’m not getting extended, I’m probably gonna get traded. Probably. I think. The way I’ve been playing… I’m playing somewhat decent. That didn’t happen,” he said.

Following the Western Conference Finals, Brunson felt undervalued by the Mavericks, leading him to explore other options in free agency.

“The deal came on the table after the trade deadline. I was like, ‘No.’ I think I’ve outgrown that now. Personally that’s what I thought. I think I’ve outgrown that,” he continued.

Brunson’s strong performances carried over into the playoffs, as he helped the team reach the Western Conference Finals, further increasing his value.

“Obviously going to the playoffs Luka gets hurt like second to last game of the season. So he’s out for the first three games and I obviously did what I did… So that all happens. I’m trying to think my timeline. So I don’t mess up,” Brunson said.

Comments by Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made Brunson think that he will get a significant offer in the offseason, but that never happened. Then an appealing option to come to New York came up.

“So we lose in the Western Conference Finals, I remember seeing something on Twitter after the game and it was like Mark saying ‘Hey, we can pay him the most money.’ He says that in the interview literally right after the game. And so I’m thinking like I’m okay. After that it was just crickets. From my point of view, I can’t speak to anyone else and my agents. Just from my point of view it was crickets.

“And then obviously I saw like, New York making moves and all that stuff. I was like, close to home, an hour away from where I was born. parents over on the East coast, whole family is on the East coast. So I started thinking like, this could be a real thing. So then here we are… Best move.”

Ultimately, Brunson decided to sign a lucrative four-year, $104 million contract with the New York Knicks, marking a significant career move for the 27-year-old guard.

In his second season with the Knicks, Brunson has emerged as a standout performer, earning his first All-Star selection while averaging 27.6 points, 6.5 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 35.9 minutes per game.