The Dallas Mavericks are off to a strong start behind superstar Luka Doncic, but the improvements of Jalen Brunson have earned him a place in the closing lineup and helped Dallas become one of the best clutch teams in the league. The Mavs needed someone to take the pressure off Luka, and JB is filling that role.
The 25-year-old guard is averaging career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and minutes per game this season. His stellar play puts him in the running for Sixth Man of the Year and has helped diversify the Mavericks' offensive attack.
The Mavs made a mistake when structuring Brunson’s rookie contract. They got him at a bargain for four years, but they failed to put an option in for the final season, which makes him an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2022. JB’s breakout will earn him a significant payday, but Dallas is not worried.
Dallas Mavericks believe they will re-sign Jalen Brunson
Marc Stein noted (subscription required) on Nov. 26 that the Mavs are confident they will be able to re-sign JB. They can still offer him an extension during the regular season, but the deal caps at four years and $55 million. Brunson will get more on the open market and is likely to become a free agent next summer.
The Mavericks need to get a deal done because they will not have the cap space to replace him. Luka Doncic’s rookie max extension kicks in next season, and it makes Dallas a tax team moving forward.
Stein also talked about Jalen Brunson taking over as the leader in the Dallas Mavericks locker room. The 25-year-old plays a key role on and off the court, and there is no way the front office can let him walk in free agency. Expect a monster deal for Brunson next summer that keeps him in Dallas.