The Dallas Mavericks want Jalen Brunson back, and they are willing to pay handsomely to do so. President of basketball operations and general manager Nico Harrison made it clear that re-signing JB is the team’s top offseason priority, and the Mavericks believe the interest is mutual.
The Knicks have long coveted Brunson, and they were viewed as a threat to sign him if they could create the cap space to do so. New York started making those moves on draft night as they traded the 11th overall pick and Kemba Walker to acquire thee future protected first-round picks. The moves only made sense if New York cashes in during free agency.
Marc Stein reported (subscription required) the latest on Friday afternoon, including some potential damning news for MFFLs about Brunson's free agency.
Dallas Mavericks rumors: Jalen Brunson wants to be lead ball-handler in New York
Brunson has strong ties to the Knicks and Mavericks. New York offers him a chance to play under his father, and his former agent and family friend Leon Rose is the Knicks president, but JB has built ties in Dallas to Luka Doncic, Mark Cuban, and the entire organization. He is a leader and key piece for the Mavericks.
Stein reports in the piece that Brunson wants to be the lead ball-handler in New York, and that “there is a growing fear within the (Mavericks) organization that Brunson covets the new challenge and broadened responsibility with the Knicks, even if Dallas counters New York's offer with an audacious five-year deal.”
Those are Stein’s direct words, and no reporter knows more about the Mavericks' dealings. It sounds like Jalen Brunson could be leaving Dallas, despite Jake Fischer’s recent report that he was telling current teammates he was coming back to the Mavericks.
Where does this saga stand right now? With Jalen Brunson. He is an unrestricted free agent that can sign with any team. Will the Dallas Mavericks be able to outbid the Knicks for his services with a better chance to win and an additional year? If he wants to be the lead ball-handler in New York, Brunson will sign with the Knicks. Stay tuned to see how it all plays out.