NBA Rumors: Mavs' Jalen Brunson Could Be Moved at Trade Deadline; Pistons Connected

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 26, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 25: Jalen Brunson #13 of the Dallas Mavericks handles the ball against the Golden State Warriors on January 25, 2022 at the Chase Center in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The Detroit Pistons are expected to be among the teams interested in Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson if he's traded before the Feb. 10 deadline.

Michael Scotto of Hoopshype reported Brunson "has some admirers" in Detroit. The Mavs are expected to explore trading Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith before the deadline because both players will be unrestricted free agents this summer.

Brunson is set for a substantial raise this offseason after making only $6.1 million over his first four seasons. He'll almost certainly make more than that on an annual basis moving forward, which puts the Mavs in a precarious position.

The team could use its Bird Rights to sign Brunson to a long-term contract, but it would likely result in Dallas going into the luxury tax. The Mavs have $140.2 million in taxable salaries for next season, which gives them about $4.8 million in room under the projected $145 million tax.

They could get out from under the non-guaranteed contracts of Maxi Kleber ($9.2 million), Frank Ntilikina ($2 million) and Moses Brown ($1.9 million) to give themselves some more room, but Kleber, in particular, is a rotation fixture. 

Dallas will have some leverage with few teams expected to have significant cap space this summer, but Brunson's played his way to an eight-figure annual salary. There's almost no way the Mavs can stay under the tax and retain Brunson without making significant roster moves this summer.