The Dallas Mavericks are preparing to make some difficult decisions in the weeks and months ahead. Jalen Brunson has forced his way into the starting lineup this season and has been the team’s second-best player for stretches, but he is headed for unrestricted free agency. So is fellow starter Dorian Finney-Smith, and with Luka Doncic’s max extension kicking in, the Mavs will be headed into the luxury tax if they pay both players.
Dallas does not want to lose either with no compensation, which is forcing them to explore their markets ahead of the Feb. 10 trade deadline. Both players figured to draw significant interest, but will the Mavericks trade one?
Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus dropped the latest rumors on Jan. 17 where he noted that Brunson is looking for a four-year deal worth $80 million when he hits the open market this summer. Here is a closer look at the latest and why the Mavericks will be looking to drive that price down.
Rumors: Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson wants $80 million in free agency
The Mavs can offer Brunson a four-year extension worth $55.6 million right now, but the sides have not agreed to a deal. That was the first tip for fans that JB was searching for more money in free agency. Brunson wants $20 million per season, which would make him the 13th highest-paid point guard this season. It would be just under the four years $85 million Fred VanVleet got in free agency in 2020.
The New York Knicks are rumored to be the team in heaviest pursuit of Brunson, but they do not have the cap space to sign him outright. The market is limited this summer, which means any team luring JB away will likely have to do it via a sign-and-trade.
How much are the Dallas Mavericks willing to pay to keep Jalen Brunson? They agreed to a four-year $75 million contract with Tim Hardaway Jr. last offseason, and JB has outplayed him so far this year. There is no way they hand out $80 million, but are they willing to pay a similar price to THJ to keep Brunson in Dallas?
Brunson’s fourth-year breakout has certainly earned him a massive payday. He has a price in mind, but is some team willing to pay it? Dallas Mavericks fans will be watching the situation closely over the next six months. Expect Jalen Brunson to get paid this summer. The only question is who will be writing the checks?