NBA Rumors: Mavs Confident Jalen Brunson Will Sign New Contract in 2022 Free AgencyMay 3, 2022
The Dallas Mavericks reportedly expect guard Jalen Brunson to re-sign with them in free agency this offseason.
According to Tim Cato of The Athletic, sources within the Mavs have expressed "confidence" that they will be able to keep Brunson on the heels of his career year.
Cato noted that since the Mavs aren't likely to have any salary-cap space during the next two offseasons, they wouldn't have any way to adequately replace Brunson, making re-signing him a massive priority.
The 25-year-old Brunson has spent his entire four-year NBA career in Dallas, and the 2018 second-round pick has progressively gotten better with each season.
After spending most of his first three seasons as a bench player, Brunson started 61 of the 79 regular-season games he appeared in this year.
He also put up career-best numbers, averaging 16.3 points, 4.8 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 three-pointers made per game while shooting 50.2 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Brunson has been even better during the playoffs, averaging 25.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.7 three-pointers made in seven postseason contests.
Dallas was without superstar guard Luka Doncic for the first three games of its first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz, and Brunson had a field day, particularly in Game 2 when he had a playoff career high of 41 points.
Brunson did not score fewer than 23 points in any of the Mavericks' six first-round playoff games against the Jazz, which is a big reason Dallas advanced.
While Doncic makes the Mavs go and will do so for many years to come, Brunson is the closest thing Dallas has to a second star, especially after the in-season trade of Kristaps Porzingis to the Washington Wizards.
Re-signing Brunson almost seems like a necessity if the Mavericks want to remain in contention, but they won't be without competition.
Per NBA insider Marc Stein (h/t HoopsHype), the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers will both have significant salary cap-space during the offseason and are known to have interest in Brunson.
Stein noted that the New York Knicks are also interested, although they would have to do some maneuvering in order to make room for him financially.
Stein also noted that Brunson could command in the neighborhood of $80 million over four years, which is something few teams can afford to offer.
The Mavericks can do so if they choose, however, since they own Brunson's Bird rights.
There is nothing Dallas can do if Brunson simply decides he wants to play elsewhere, but given how much the Mavs need him and how impressively Brunson has grown as a player in Dallas, there should be some common ground to get a deal done.