Should the Mavericks trade Jalen Brunson before the deadline?

Dallas Mavericks, Jalen Brunson
Dallas Mavericks, Jalen Brunson / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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Dallas Mavericks, Jalen Brunson
Dallas Mavericks, Jalen Brunson / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Case for the Dallas Mavericks trading away Jalen Brunson before the deadline

Brunson’s value has never been higher. The 25-year-old guard is averaging 15.9 points, 5.5 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.0 steal in 31.2 minutes per game this season while shooting 50.2 percent from the field and 79.0 percent on his free throws. Those numbers improve as a starter to 18.4 points, 6.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.1 steals in 33.8 minutes a night.

It appears to be a seller’s market right now. In the Western Conference, the Thunder and Rockets are the only two teams more than two games out of a play-in position. The Pacers, Pistons, and Magic make up that group in the East when expanding to three games out.

There will be limited cap space across the league this summer, so teams are motivated to add pieces before the deadline. Any team that trades for Brunson would acquire his Bird rights and be able to go over the cap to re-sign him. His market will be limited in free agency because only a handful of teams project to have cap space.

JB has questions to answer too. Can he remain effective in the postseason after his struggles in the 2021 first-round series against the LA Clippers? Will the Mavericks be able to hold up defensively with Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson in the backcourt during the postseason? Dallas won’t get those answers until JB proves it in the playoffs.

The Dallas Mavericks could get a significant return for Jalen Brunson before the Feb. 10 trade deadline, but it would likely not fit their timeline.