On Monday, Jalen Brunson was part of his first Media Day with the New York Knicks. It’s been almost three months since he signed a four-year, $104 million contract with the Knicks in free agency. The 26-year-old opted to leave the Dallas Mavericks behind, which is where he spent his first four years in the league.
While New York was holding its Media Day, Dallas was doing the same. Unsurprisingly, Brunson was a topic of discussion for the Mavericks, and Dorian Finney-Smith had the best response to Brunson joining the Knicks.
Finney-Smith has been with Dallas since 2016, so he firsthand got to see Brunson’s development from when he entered the league in 2018 to watching the guard help lead the Mavericks to the Western Conference Finals a few months ago. Dallas wanted to hold onto Brunson, but instead, he walked and the Mavericks received nothing in return.
Meanwhile, Finney-Smith got a payday from Dallas back in February after he signed a four-year, $52 million extension. Brunson was eligible for a similar contract (four years, $55 million) to Finney-Smith’s, but he opted to test the free agency waters and got nearly double that from New York. So, no, Finney-Smith doesn’t blame Brunson for leaving the Mavericks.
Dorian Finney-Smith doesn’t blame Jalen Brunson for signing with the Knicks
For reference, Brunson made $1.8 million in 2021-22. Sure, that’s a lot of money, but in 2022-23, he’s going to make $27.3 million. So, yes, Finney-Smith should have been mad at Brunson if he would have stayed with the Mavericks.
Jason Kidd had a similar response to Finney-Smith’s a couple of weeks ago when he was a guest on the ‘ALL THE SMOKE’ podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. Kidd said, “I love when I can get a player paid.” Kidd, who played in both Dallas and New York, can especially appreciate Brunson’s new contract.
Brunson’s coming off a career year, so regardless of how Mavericks fans feel about him leaving, he made the decision that was best for him.
In a few short weeks, Knicks fans will get to see what the point guard is all about. And two days after Christmas, Brunson will return to American Airlines Center for the first time. That’ll undoubtedly be a game that will be worth watching.