As the start of NBA free agency looms, the Dallas Mavericks still have a lot to sort out. Dallas started the offseason with Jalen Brunson being the “top priority,” and that might still be the case. However, with Brunson being an unrestricted free agent, it doesn’t really matter how much the Mavs want him back … If he wants to leave for the New York Knicks, there’s nothing Dallas can do to stop him.
If Brunson does walk, the Mavs will need to quickly pivot to other options in an attempt to fill the void left behind. According to The Athletic, Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II could be one of those options for Dallas.
“The Warriors are considered to be the favorites to retain Payton’s services. It isn’t a secret how much he loves the Warriors’ environment, the Bay Area and his fit as a defensive pest and off-ball slasher in a Curry-fueled environment,” writes Anthony Slater.
“But the favorite label — as in the situation regarding Looney — is far from a guarantee, still a few days from the starting bell … The Mavericks are considered among the most serious suitors. Dallas still has the Jalen Brunson unrestricted free agency to resolve. His decision could have a domino effect on the market.”
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Payton averaged 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 17.6 minutes per game for the Warriors last season. He shot 61.6 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from deep.
It’s fitting that Payton is such a disruptive defender given that his father was nicknamed “The Glove.” Payton averages 2.8 steals per 36 minutes and 3.8 steals per 100 possessions.
The Warriors are still the favorite to re-sign Payton, but if the Mavs can swoop in and grab him, he’d fit in seamlessly with the newfound defensive culture coach Jason Kidd has established in Dallas.