Dallas Mavericks point guard Jalen Brunson is reportedly set to join the New York Knicks when free agency opens on Thursday.
According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Mavericks will likely look to replace him with a veteran who has ties to star point guard Luka Doncic.
"Sources close to the process say Brunson’s exit would also increase the likelihood that Dallas tries to sign Goran Dragic, Doncic's Slovenian teammate, in free agency," Stein wrote.
ESPN's Tim MacMahon reported on Tuesday that the Knicks were preparing to offer Brunson "a four-year deal in excess of $100 million." New York has already made moves to clear cap space and reportedly intends to make more room for a massive offer to Brunson that would be difficult to turn down.
Brunson secured a big-money deal for himself with his stellar play throughout this past season. The 25-year-old averaged career-highs across the board with 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. He then upped his production in the playoffs with an impressive run that saw him put up 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 18 games.
It's likely that Brunson feels ready to assume lead-guard duties after putting his potential on display last year. He wouldn't get that opportunity in Dallas, considering Doncic is one of the most ball-dominant players in the NBA.
Replacing Brunson with Dragic would be a stark contrast for Dallas. The 36-year-old will be entering his 14th year in the NBA next season and was limited to 21 games last year split between the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets. While Brunson isn't known for his defense, Dragic is much more of a liability on that end of the floor at this stage in his career.
After advancing to the Western Conference Finals this season, the Mavericks have to make the right offseason moves to ensure they remain a title contender next year.