Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s team gambled and lost on Kyrie Irving and is now fighting for a play-in berth.
And how did the “Shark Tank” star keep spirits up with two must-win games remaining? He blamed Knicks assistant coach Rick Brunson for his son, star point guard Jalen Brunson, not re-signing in Dallas.
“Where it went south was when Rick took over, when the parent took over, or parents took over,” Cuban said in what ESPN’s Tim McMahon called an “unscheduled pregame media availability” before Wednesday’s game. Cuban then proceeded to read text messages between Brunson’s agent Aaron Mintz and Mavs general manger Nico Harrison that basically corroborated the story.
Cuban, like him or not, isn’t entirely in the wrong here. Let’s not forget that Brunson signed with the Knicks moments after free agency began last summer. New York was even docked a second-round pick after a league investigation revealed tampering.
But it’s almost a year later, so why is Cuban now publicly complaining about it? Let alone targeting Rick Brunson specifically? He really just sounds like a sore loser who’s upset his gamble on Irving has proved disastrous.
Cuban really should know better. He’s owned the Mavericks for over two decades and is aware how free agency works. Professional basketball, like any professional sport, is a business. Brunson made a business decision that happened to include some personal touches.
Knicks president Leon Rose is his godfather and former agent. Rick played for the Knicks at one point. Was hiring him as an assistant coach a weird move? Yes, but Brunson also has decades of NBA experience in that very role, so it wasn’t full-blown nepotism.
Given how quickly it all happened, it sounds like Jalen Brunson really wanted out of Dallas. We’ve already heard rumors of Luka Doncic possibly running Kristaps Porzingis out of town. The Irving experiment made the Mavericks even worse. New York, on the other hand, was an opportunity for Brunson to be a star player on his own and the right people just happened to be in charge.
Besides, who’s to say this wouldn’t have happened if Rose were running a different team with a similar need? Would Cuban be complaining then?
At the end of the day, let’s call Cuban out on what he is: a sore loser. Brunson picked New York to forge his own path and get out of Luka’s shadow, and connections in the front office also helped. In which case, the Mavericks just need to sharpen their free agency pitch. Might I suggest an episode of “Shark Tank” for the dress rehearsal?
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