The Smoking Cuban
Free Agency

Why Dallas Mavericks fans shouldn’t fret if Jalen Brunson leaves in free agency

Brian Sweet
Dallas Mavericks, Carlik Jones
Dallas Mavericks, Carlik Jones / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of the Dallas Mavericks are already worrying about losing one of their best players this offseason. It is not Luka Doncic after he signed a max extension last summer, but guard Jalen Brunson becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Four years ago, the Mavericks were completely speechless when Jalen Brunson fell all the way to them in the second round. It was like the NBA gods giving them two key pieces, which never happens to the Mavs. Dallas tried to lock Brunson up after the trade deadline, but he declined the offer betting on himself to get a better contract.

With the way that he’s played in his last season under contract with the Mavericks, it is going to cost a pretty penny to keep him here long-term, and the Mavericks might not be able to afford that. If the Mavs end up losing him, his replacement might be closer to Dallas than fans think.

Why Dallas Mavericks fans shouldn't fret if Jalen Brunson leaves in free agency

I’m sure fans remember Carlik Jones being a surprise player from the Mavs summer league team in 2021. He was among the final roster cuts during training camp, and I remember Jason Kidd telling him and Feron Hunt not to pack their bags and leave Dallas. Kidd was right, and both players ended up down in Frisco with the Texas Legends.

Jones immediately became a fan favorite down in Frisco with Feron Hunt as the Legends dominated early in the season with Jones running the offense. Jones averaged 21.1 points per game with the Legends, which would be a bit more than Brunson’s 16.3 a night in the NBA.

Jones reminds me so much of Jalen Brunson with his quickness and craftiness with the ball. He was that player in the G League that made coaches want to snap their whiteboards at halftime. It’s kind of the way that Utah couldn’t figure out how to guard Brunson in the first round of the playoffs this season.

Jones is basically ”Brunson 2.0“. If we were to be outbid this offseason on JB, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban just has to sign Jones to a minimum contract as the Pelicans did to Jose Alvarado in 2021. It would save money on replacing Brunson, and the Mavs could go get a true center in the draft or free agency to round out their roster.

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