Case for Jalen Brunson signing with Indiana Pacers over Dallas Mavericks
Marc Stein reported the Pacers' interest (subscription required) in Brunson back in April. It would allow the 6’1 guard to reunite with Rick Carlisle after the longtime Mavericks head coach left to be the head man in Indiana in 2021.
The Pacers have missed the playoffs just three times since 2011, but have not qualified for two straight years. They will attempt to upgrade their roster this offseason to jump back into postseason contention.
Indiana would be offering the same role as Dallas in a worse situation for victories. Brunson would start in the backcourt next to Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton, but he could get a few more ball-handling opportunities in Indiana as Haliburton’s usage is 20.3 compared to Luka Doncic’s 37.4. The Pacers will be fighting for the play-in tournament next season without significant upgrades whereas Dallas should be back in the playoffs and looking to make another deep run.
If the money is equal, Jalen Brunson would have to choose the Pacers because of his prior relationship with Carlisle or Indiana selling him on a larger offensive role.
Given the Mavericks' chemistry this season, it is difficult to see JB leaving for a similar or worse situation without getting significantly more money. Brunson has won at every level, so the ability to win could be the tiebreaker if all else is equal.