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Ahead of the start of the 2021-22 season, the Dallas Mavericks brought in long-time Nike executive Nico Harrison to be their new general managers and they also hired Hall-of-Famer Jason Kidd to be their new head coach. While these were some impressive moves, nobody really viewed Dallas as a threat in the Western Conference.

Not winning a playoff series since 2011, when they went on to win their lone title, no one really entered the season with the mindset that the Dallas Mavericks would be a threat.

Starting the year 16-18, Dallas was really struggling to find their identity. From the start of 2022 on though, this team quickly turned into one of the best defensive squads in the entire league and they began winning games left and right.

Finishing the 2021-22 season 52-30, the Mavericks claimed the 4-seed in the Western Conference and faced the Utah Jazz in the first-round of the playoffs.

Not having advanced past the first-round of the playoffs since 2011 and not projected to win a series at the beginning of the year, Dallas beat Utah 4-2 and advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals to take on the 1-seeded and 64-win Phoenix Suns.

Again, nobody projected the Mavericks to win this series, but they stood strong against Phoenix, forcing a decisive Game 7 in which they obliterated the Suns in front of their home fans by 33 points!

The Mavericks ultimately lost in the Western Conference Finals to the Golden State Warriors, but overall, this was an extremely successful season for this franchise.

For years, they have been looking for answers on how to build a successful, championship-level team and now with Luka Doncic at the forefront of their plans, the Mavericks look like an organization that is on the rise.

“I think when you look at the journey we’ve been on since the beginning, you just don’t know,” Jason Kidd said in regards to the growth of his team. “With COVID and the injuries, the slow start, we kind of knew what we had, but as we continued that journey we started to figure out who we wanted to be. That’s what helped us get to this point. They are true believers that they can compete against anyone.”

With the offseason beginning now for the Dallas Mavericks, there are a ton of decisions that management will be responsible for making.

Not only do they need to focus on their current roster and finding ways to get Luka Doncic the help he deserves, but perhaps the biggest question mark for this team awaits them in free agency with Jalen Brunson.


Jalen Brunson’s Contract Situation

Already rumored to be a potential free agent target of numerous teams, retaining Jalen Brunson is not going to be an easy thing for the Mavericks to do.

In just his fourth season, Brunson really stepped up into a massive role for Dallas this year, especially when Tim Hardaway Jr. went down with his season-ending foot injury.

In 70 regular season games, Jalen Brunson averaged 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists while shooting 50.2% from the floor. Then in the postseason, he continued to build off of his regular season success, averaging 21.6 points and shooting 46.6% from the floor.

The clear No. 2 scoring option next to Luka Doncic in this team’s offensive attack, Jalen Brunson is set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, allowing him to negotiate a new contract with any team in the league without the Mavericks having any leverage or say in the matter.

Of course there is a level of mutual interest that exists between Brunson and the Mavericks right now, but the terms and money involved with his new contract could play a massive role in terms of where the young guard ends up.

According to HoopsHype’s Yossi Gozlan, Brunson could see a contract that starts as low as $20 million annually with offers getting as high as $25 million annually. He could also end up being a prime sign-and-trade target this offseason.

“We can pay him more than anybody,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told Bally Sports Southwest on Thursday. “I think he wants to stay and that’s most important.”

Retaining Jalen Brunson is a massive decision the Mavericks will have to make this offseason, but their cap situation is not as pretty as other teams in this league who could pursue Brunson.


Mavericks Limited Due To Salary Cap

Entering the offseason, the Dallas Mavericks are projected to already have over $150 million in total payroll for the 2022-23 season, meaning that they are well over the salary cap and currently projected to be over the luxury tax threshold.

Re-signing Brunson is something they absolutely could do, but it is not hard to imagine that a new contract could give them at least a $50 million tax penalty. It is also an option to move contracts in order to free up some space to re-sign Jalen Brunson, but who would the Mavericks move?

Dwight Powell ($11 million) and Davis Bertans ($16 million) seem like the obvious choices for the Mavericks to possibly move on from in an offseason trade, but neither of these guys carry any trade value with them into the offseason.

In order to unload these contracts, Dallas would have to send some “incentives” to the team that is willing to take on their contract, meaning that the Mavericks may have to give up some draft assets they currently do not have.

Seven players currently on their active roster are set to make at least $10 million next season and Maxi Kleber is not too far behind given that he is scheduled to make $9.2 million in the final year of his contract during the 2022-23 season.

The Mavericks can certainly offer Jalen Brunson the most money to re-sign in the offseason, but this will cripple their finances even more than they already are, especially if Dallas is unable to move current heavy contracts on their roster.

As for adding more depth and talent to their roster, the Mavericks are kind of stuck with what they have. 

As mentioned, the contracts of Powell and Bertans really present zero value to any team in the league right now and while moving Tim Hardaway Jr. is a potential option, interest in him is said to be low given that he is coming off of a season-ending foot injury.

Dallas is essentially “married” to what they have right now, which could spell trouble for them heading into the 2022-23 season.

Luka Doncic - The Lone Wolf


What became very clear late in the postseason is that Luka Doncic desperately needs some help for the Mavericks to be a real contending threat in the Western Conference. Right now, Jalen Brunson, Spencer Dinwiddie and Tim Hardaway Jr. have all proven to be key secondary talents, but Doncic is the only primary focus on this team.

Doncic has nobody he can rely on for immediate production when he is resting and with the Golden State Warriors breaking down Dallas’ defense in the Western Conference Finals, more teams are likely to follow Golden State's game plan to try and figure out the Mavs’ tight defense.

Adding new, versatile talent is a must for the Mavericks and they may only have two chances to do so given that the trade market is most likely going to be worthless to them.

Their first option stems from a potential sign-and-trade of Jalen Brunson, landing the Mavericks one or two other impactful players for depth, but the second option which seems more viable is addressing their needs through the NBA Draft.

Dallas currently owns the 26th overall selection in the first-round of this year’s draft, allowing them to potentially select a youthful talent that can immediately contribute offensively.

Maybe this is an asset they will use as an incentive in a trade to unload someone like Dwight Powell or Davis Bertans, but should the Mavericks keep this draft pick, adding another scoring weapon will be a must.

While they are definitely a strong team that took a tremendous leap this season, one wrong decision in the offseason for the Dallas Mavericks could send them back to square one in this league. The Mavericks are definitely a team facing some of the most pressure heading into this summer. 

  • What We Learned From Mavericks-Warriors Western Conference Finals Series: The Golden State Warriors defeated the Dallas Mavericks 120-110 on Thursday night, winning the Western Conference Finals in five games and advancing to the 2022 NBA Finals. CLICK HERE.
  • Luka Doncic's Bold Quote After Getting Eliminated: Luka Doncic met with the media after the Dallas Mavericks lost the Western Conference Finals on Thursday evening to the Golden State Warriors. CLICK HERE.