Jalen Brunson Rumors: Mavs Won't Cooperate in Sign-and-Trade; Knicks, Pistons Linked

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVApril 25, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 23: Jalen Brunson #13 of the Dallas Mavericks goes to the basket during the game against the Utah Jazz during Round 1 Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2022 at Vivint SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. 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 Jeff Swinger/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jeff Swinger/NBAE via Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks reportedly have no plans to facilitate a potential sign-and-trade for guard Jalen Brunson when he hits free agency this summer.

ESPN's Tim MacMahon reported retaining Brunson is a top priority for Dallas this offseason after his breakout playoff performance. The New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons are among the teams expected to be interested once he hits the open market.

The Mavericks front office bungled Brunson's contract negotiations, twice declining to seriously engage in extension talks. MacMahon reported the team could have snared him for a four-year, $55.5 million deal before the season but did not engage in contract talks. The Mavs again failed to negotiate when they were approached in January. 

"I told him once the season is started, that's it," Rick Brunson, Jalen's father, told MacMahon. "I told the Mavericks, 'Once the season is started, there's no contract talk,' and I went back against my word. In January, I thought he did enough where he deserved [the extension]. I said, 'Hey, take the money, man.' He wants security. He wants to live here. And they declined.

"He didn't turn s--t down. Y'all declined first. When y'all came back to him, we said, 'Hey, we just want to finish out the season and go from there.'"

Front-office executives now estimate Brunson will make between $20-25 million annually when he hits the open market. Over a four-year contract, that's a mistake that will cost the Mavs $25-45 million over the course of the contract. More importantly, it's an error that could cost them one of their most important players at a time when he's on the rise.

Brunson took the reins for an injured Luka Doncic during the first three games of the first round, leading the Mavs to a 2-1 lead highlighted by a 41-point Game 2 performance. He's averaging 29.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game for the series. 

While this recent uptick is an outlier compared to Brunson's regular-season performance, it only takes one team to fall in love with his dribble-drive skills and reset the market. Rick Brunson says his son has no plans on giving the Mavs a discount.