Player Dallas Mavericks should have never given up on: 2. Jalen Brunson
Failing to re-sign Jalen Brunson could haunt the Mavs for years to come. He transformed from second-round pick to the second leading scorer on a Western Conference Finalist during his four years in Dallas.
JB wanted to stay, and he was willing to accept a four-year extension worth $55.6 million before the 2021-2022 season, but the front office never made the offer. They deserve all the blame because that would look like one of the best value contracts in the NBA right now if they would have gotten a deal done.
Instead, Brunson played out his final season and walked in free agency. He is the starting point guard and lead playmaker for the Knicks, and the Mavericks have missed his presence mightily this season. JB’s ability to create shots and bail out the offense was massive.
Even after failing to extend Brunson, Dallas should have attempted to outbid the Knicks for his services in free agency. JB may not have been the traditional second star next to Luka Doncic, but he just keeps getting better.
Brunson is averaging 20.0 points, 6.9 assists, and 1.2 steals per game for the Knicks this season. Having another 20-point per-game scorer would be massive for the Mavericks as they look to push their way into the title picture.