Mavericks' unforgivable mistake from 2021-22 season still haunting them today

New York Knicks v Orlando Magic
New York Knicks v Orlando Magic / Rich Storry/GettyImages

Amid the Dallas Mavericks' recent success with the squad winning six straight games before the NBA All-Star break, perhaps it's worth taking a look at how much this Mavericks team has changed since they were last in a position to contend during the 2022 NBA Playoffs.

The Mavericks seem to finally be formulating the right pieces around Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving in hopes that it will give them a shot at competing in the Western Conference during the next two seasons, but they've had to expend a lot of draft capital to right their ship after Jalen Brunson left the Mavericks for the New York Knicks in the offseason of 2022.

Mavericks fans have loved the additions of P.J. Washington, Daniel Gafford, and Kyrie Irving thus far, but if this was an alternate reality where the Mavericks kept Jalen Brunson in 2022, than they probably don't have to pay the price for two out of those three players at back-to-back trade deadlines.

Mavericks' unforgivable mistake from 2021-22 season still haunting them today

Hindsight is 2020, so dwelling on Brunson's departure will only do Mavericks fans so much good. However, Brunson's departure has been made even more painstaking when you take into consideration what he said on the "All the Smoke" podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson over the weekend.

"I really did want to stay in Dallas. I think before my fourth season in Dallas, my last season in Dallas, we tried to extend our contract. Whatever we can get, the most we can get was, like, 4 years and $55 million. We wanted to do that. I wanted to stay there."

Jalen Brunson

Brunson also revealed that his second time getting the extension rejected by the Mavericks was around the 20-25 game mark, as he first approached the organization about getting a deal done before the 2021-22 season started. Ultimately the Mavericks flailed in offseason negotiations to retain Brunson after his electric 2022 Playoffs run, and the 6-foot-1 guard has ascended into an MVP-caliber player with the Knicks and brought home a Playoff series win with New York in the first season he left Dallas.

The Mavericks mismanaged the Brunson situation from the moment they atypically structured his contract in 2018 to reflect the contract of a first-round pick, despite him being a second-round pick in the draft. Dallas is still paying for that mistake today, as they've had to expend excess future draft capital to mend the wounds of Brunson's departure.

The Brunson situation is all too familiar for Mavericks fans who have been around long enough to see how Dallas let Steve Nash depart to the Phoenix Suns in 2004 free agency, so we can only hope that the new faces in Dallas' front office and Mark Cuban don't make similar organizational mistakes of the past once again.

For more on the Dallas Mavericks ahead of the NBA Playoffs, stay tuned as we will have you covered.