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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told reporters Wednesday that the team didn't have a chance to re-sign Jalen Brunson in free agency, and he denied that it could have extended Brunson's contract last season, blaming Brunson's father, Rick, for the guard's departure.

"I went all this time not saying anything about it, considering the way things have turned out and everybody's saying 'Oh, you should have [signed] him,'" Cuban said, via the Dallas Morning News. "The reality is we didn't have that chance."

You're probably aware that Brunson was eligible to sign an extension worth up to $55.6 million over four years before hitting free agency last summer. The Mavericks did not offer this extension to him before the 2021-22 season, and, in an interview with ESPN last April, Brunson's father said that they also declined to offer it to him in January 2022:

"I told him once the season is started, that's it," Rick Brunson says. "I told the Mavericks, 'Once the season is started, there's no contract talk,' and I went back against my word. In January, I thought he did enough where he deserved [the extension]. I said, 'Hey, take the money, man.' He wants security. He wants to live here. And they declined.

"He didn't turn s--- down. Y'all declined first. When y'all came back to him, we said, 'Hey, we just want to finish out the season and go from there.'"

"That's a lie," Cuban said, via the Dallas Morning News. "That's an absolute 100 percent lie."

Two weeks ago, Jalen Brunson told Bleacher Report that he thought a deal could get done "before the season, and then around, I think December or January," but the Mavs "looked the other way. They had every right in the world to do so. I don't blame them for making any business decisions. That's on them." Brunson also said, "I can't say anything bad about Dallas, but obviously I wish things would've happened differently."

Cuban said that the Mavericks didn't have a chance to negotiate with Brunson before he signed a four-year, $104 million contract with the New York Knicks in July.

"Where it went south was when Rick took over, when the parent took over, or parents took over," Cuban said, via ESPN.

From ESPN:

"We thought that we could turn him around," Cuban said when asked why Dallas didn't trade Brunson before last season's deadline. "We wanted to re-sign him and we wanted to keep the season going together. We thought, 'cause JB kept on telling us he liked being here. JB never gave us an indication. It was only the parents that were the issue. Even the agent said, worst case, we can do a sign-and-trade."

"We didn't know what the bid was," Cuban said, speaking to the media a day after Doncic said the Mavs missed Brunson "a lot" and bemoaned the decline of Dallas' chemistry this season. "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. There's just no possible way that it was about money.

"I mean, there was no negotiation. 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. You had him for four years. OK, let's work together."

Cuban cited text messages between himself, general manager Nico Harrison and Brunson's agent Aaron Mintz. He implied that Rick, through Mintz, told the Mavericks two days before the trade deadline that they needed to dump salary so they could simultaneously renegotiate and extend Brunson's contract, effectively giving him a raise so they could offer him a richer extension. (As a point of reference, the Indiana Pacers went this route with Myles Turner this year, but they didn't need to clear cap space to do so.)

From the Dallas Morning News:

According to a January 25 text exchange between Cuban and Harrison, Mintz by that point was saying was that Brunson in the summer would want an annual package of $18 million to $23 million. Under NBA rules, however, Mavericks were not allowed to say what they would be willing to pay Brunson in free agency.

Then, Cuban said, on February 8, two days before the trade deadline, Brunson's side demanded to the Mavericks that they trade players to create enough cap space so that Brunson could sign an $18-to-$23 million extension right away. The demand, according to Cuban, was coming from Brunson's father, Rick, channeled to Mintz.

Cuban showed The News a Jan. 25 text exchange between himself and Harrison, with Harrison saying, "We aren't going to make a decision based on what Aaron says his dad wants in July."

Cuban then showed The News the text he sent that day to Mintz: "Just want to let you know you're not helping yourself at all with this ultimatum on (trade) deadline."

According to Cuban, Harrison in February texted, "I think just the New York thing is too tied to their family to overcome," per ESPN

Cuban added, per The Athletic, "Aaron was telling me, 'I'm not in charge. His dad is really running the show.'"

New York reportedly finalized their hiring of Brunson's father, Rick, as an assistant coach in June. Knicks president Leon Rose is Brunson's godfather and, when Rose was an agent, Rick was his first client. In December, an NBA investigation found that the team violated NBA rules by negotiating with Brunson before the beginning of free agency, and the league rescinded New York's 2025 second-round pick as punishment. 

"I'm not throwing JB under the bus," Cuban said, via the Dallas Morning News. "I think the world of him. I wish him nothing but the best, but the way it was handled, there's a reason why the NBA (took away) their second-round draft pick. It should have been a whole lot more; it doesn't help us at all. And the NBA didn't even talk to me about it, at all."

After finishing 37-45 and missing the play-in last season, the Knicks are 47-33 and will finish fifth in the East. The Mavericks, meanwhile, are 38-42 and are in serious danger of missing the play-in, a steep decline after going 52-30 and making the conference finals last season. (To finish 10th, they need to finish with a better record than the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are also 38-42.)

In 68 games this season, Brunson has averaged 24 points on 59.7 percent true shooting, plus 6.2 assists and 3.5 rebounds. On Tuesday, Luka Doncic, Dallas' franchise player, said that the team has missed Brunson "a lot -- amazing guy, amazing player, for sure."