Case for the Dallas Mavericks paying Jalen Brunson in free agency
Brunson deserves $20 million per year after his breakout fourth NBA season. The 25-year-old has improved every year, and he would be making the same amount as Lonzo Ball, Malcolm Brogdon, Fred VanVleet, Mike Conley, and Terry Rozier. Other than VanVleet, the Mavericks could make a case to have JB over every one of those options.
Luka Doncic’s max extension kicks in this summer and pushes the Mavericks into the luxury tax. If Brunson walks, the Mavericks will not have the cap space to sign a replacement. They will be limited to the taxpayer mid-level exception and minimum deals. Zero starting-caliber point guards will be going at those rates.
Dallas knows Brunson fits, and he is one of the team’s vocal leaders. Having a 25-year-old improving guard that can score 16 points per game, handle the ball, and fits next to your superstar is massive, and the Mavericks cannot afford to let him leave in free agency.
Fans should not worry about Jalen Brunson getting $20-25 million per season because he will still be a positive trade asset. NBA teams want a steady point guard that can score 15-plus per game and run their offense, and JB still has the upside to keep getting better. As long as Brunson has trade value, the Dallas Mavericks could still acquire a star if one becomes available.