NBA Rumors: Mavs Tried to Trade Jalen Brunson, Picks to Draft Tyrese Haliburton

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVApril 25, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - APRIL 23: Jalen Brunson #13 of the Dallas Mavericks in action during the first half of Game Four against the Utah Jazz of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena on April 23, 2022 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. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Jalen Brunson has become a key player for the Dallas Mavericks during the playoffs, but they tried to trade him two years ago to get Tyrese Haliburton in the 2020 NBA draft, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

The Mavericks "aggressively tried to trade up" but found no takers for their offer of Brunson and picks No. 18 and No. 31 overall, per MacMahon.

Haliburton went 12th to the Sacramento Kings, while the Mavericks selected Josh Green with the 18th pick.

The Indiana Pacers acquired Haliburton in a midseason trade that sent Domantas Sabonis to the Kings, but the guard has lived up to expectations since the draft. He averaged 17.5 points and 9.6 assists per game after the move to Indiana, while his 10.5 career win shares lead all players from the 2020 draft class, per Basketball Reference

Dallas is still probably happy it held on to Brunson, who has taken a significant leap over the past two years.

The guard finished fourth in Sixth Man of the Year voting last season and averaged 16.3 points, 4.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game in 2021-22. He has stood out in the playoffs with an average of 29.8 points across four games, including a 41-point effort in a Game 2 win with Luka Doncic injured.

Dallas heads into Monday tied 2-2 with the Utah Jazz in the first-round series, but the team might've already been eliminated without Brunson's heroics.

The question for the Mavericks is if they can keep the 25-year-old when he hits free agency in the offseason.

As far as the 2020 draft, the team would have been in even better shape if it kept Brunson and used the 18th pick on Tyrese Maxey, Saddiq Bey or Desmond Bane.