As the Dallas Mavericks 2022-2023 campaign plays out, Jalen Brunson’s departure last summer in NBA free agency continues to look like a major failure for the team. Especially, with a new report that the organization had two different opportunities to lock him into a cheaper long-term deal than what he received from the New York Knicks
This has not been the type of season the Dallas Mavericks were hoping for. After reaching the conference finals last year there was a belief the team could finish the story and get to the NBA Finals this year. However, they have come nowhere close to mirroring their success from last year without Jalen Brunson.
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The second-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft cashed in this summer with a four-year, $104 million deal from the Knicks. While the contract seemed like a reach at the time, he has proven to be worth every penny as Brunson has played at an All-Star level and helped New York reach the fifth spot in a very deep Eastern Conference.
While the Knicks have prospered with him, the Dallas Mavericks have suffered through an inconsistent season where they have hovered near .500 throughout. Even with the NBA trade deadline addition of superstar guard Kyrie Irving, the team has gotten no better and has further proven that Brunson and Luka Doncic were a special duo.
Dallas Mavericks record (’22-’23): 36-37
Well, it seems that the Mavs actually had the chance to re-sign the talented guard last season, and for much cheaper money than he is currently being paid. On Friday, Bleacher Report NBA insider Chris Haynes revealed some interesting details on contract talks between the player’s reps and the organization last season.
Prior to the last season, [Brunson] was eligible for a four-year, $55.5 million extension. It was an offer Jalen Brunson’s camp would have accepted if the Mavericks made it, sources tell B/R. In January 2022, his representatives tried to initiate dialogue on getting a deal done, but the Mavericks resisted. Brunson began cementing himself as the second-best player on the team behind Luka Dončić.
“And after the February trade deadline, the team contacted Brunson about agreeing to the same four-year, $55.5 million extension Dorian Finney-Smith had just signed. At that point, it was clear that the guard’s value in free agency would be worth exponentially more if he tested the market.”– Chris Haynes (h/t Hoops Hype)
Clearly, the Dallas front office was not believers in Brunson until he was a major force late in the season and in the playoffs. It is a decision they will likely regret for years to come.
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The Dallas Mavericks currently reside in the eighth spot in the Western Conference and are only a half-game away from falling to twelfth heading into Friday.