Dallas Mavericks underestimated what Jalen Brunson wanted in free agency
The Mavs always underestimated Brunson. They were comfortable signing him to a rookie contract that did not allow them to make a restricted free agent because they did not expect the second-round pick to become their second-best player. The 6’1 guard is a winner that has made a career of proving people wrong.
Dallas had the chance to sign him to a four-year $55.6 million deal before the 2021-2022 season, but they never made the offer. Having a point guard making $14 million per year is a steal in today’s NBA.
The Mavericks could have offered it at any point last season, but they wanted to wait until after the trade deadline. That was too late. Brunson had outplayed the max extension they could give him by that point.
Dallas entered the offseason confident they would re-sign him, but again they were not thinking about what Brunson wanted. He saw an opportunity to be close to his family. Jalen’s father joined the Knicks as an assistant coach, and New York president Leon Rose is basically family. The Mavs thought playing with Luka was enough to keep JB. They did not think he would leave to be the lead ball-handler in the Big Apple.
The Dallas Mavericks always think they can sell the free agent on playing with a star, but that is not enough. It was not enough to land Jalen Brunson, but can the franchise change it?