The Dallas Mavericks are looking to make a deep playoff run in 2022, and Jalen Brunson got the ball rolling against the Utah Jazz in the first round. He led the team to two straight wins as superstar Luka Doncic recovered from a calf strain. The Mavericks look dangerous and are playing as well as any team in the NBA right now.
Brunson has earned himself a massive payday. He became an unquestioned starter and the Mavericks' second-leading scorer this season. The 6’1 guard is an elite finisher in the paint and shot 37.3 percent from 3-point range. JB uses his elite footwork and change of direction to wreak havoc on defenders.
Brunson is an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. The Mavs would love to bring him back, but the 25-year-old guard has the control. Dallas needs to keep JB, and each side is interested in a new contract. After two recent blunders by the front office, the Mavericks cannot afford to try to save money on Brunson’s new deal, and here is a look at why.
Why Dallas Mavericks cannot get greedy in Jalen Brunson free agency negotiations
Brunson is an unrestricted free agent this summer because the Mavericks did not include a team option in his rookie deal. He was eligible for an extension this year, but Dallas did not offer one until after the trade deadline. By that point, it was too late. JB had outplayed the maximum four-year deal at $55.6 million the Mavs were allowed to offer.
Rick Brunson, Jalen’s father, made it clear that his son has no plans of taking less money to say in Dallas. He said this in an interview with ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
"We’ve got to figure out if Dallas wants him. Not words. Ain’t no discount, so don’t put it on us. Don’t tell me you love me. Show me."
Brunson is expected to receive a deal north of four years and $80 million in free agency. MacMahon noted that he could receive as much as $25 million per season, and that type of deal is going to push the Mavericks deep into the luxury tax, but the organization cannot afford to penny-pinch on Brunson’s new contract.
Rick Brunson made it clear that his son wants financial security, and it appears he is willing to take the biggest offer in free agency. The Mavericks cannot count on their previous relationship with the 6’1 guard or the fact that they may be the only contending team offering him $80-plus million to secure his signature.
Dallas needs to make a fair market value offer right out of the gate and figure out something that works for both sides.
The Mavs will struggle to replace JB’s production if he signs elsewhere in free agency. They are not going to have the cap space to sign someone else.
Dallas will be exploring the trade market for upgrades this summer, and they will have their mid-level exception and minimum contracts to round out their roster. The Mavericks have Brunson’s Bird Rights, so they can go over the cap to sign him, but only him. If he leaves, it is trouble for the organization.
The Dallas Mavericks retained Tim Hardaway Jr. and Boban Marjanovic last offseason before adding Reggie Bullock and Sterling Brown in free agency. General manager and president of basketball operations Nico Harrison has plenty of experience in negotiations from his time at Nike. Can the front office and Brunson agree on a contract that works for both sides in free agency? It is the biggest question of the offseason for the Mavs.
The Dallas Mavericks need to re-sign Jalen Brunson and that means paying a hefty luxury tax bill. Will the organization do it? The Mavs are favorites to sign JB this summer, but he will have plenty of suitors, including the New York Knicks. Brunson’s playoff performance only increased his value and market, so stay tuned to see how it all shakes out.