The Mavericks will prioritize retaining Brunson and will need to be prepared to pay a premium to do so. As a result, much attention will be placed on reporting and media appearances he makes before he puts pen to paper.
Brunson made an appearance on Duncan Robinson's "The Long Shot" podcast to discuss his 2021-22 season, the Mavericks' playoff run, and his upcoming free agency.
Brunson earned a full-time starting role midseason alongside Luka Doncic in the backcourt. He went on to average 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists in 31.9 minutes per game. Prior to the playoffs, there was a sense he'd earn up to $20 million per season.
With Luka Doncic suffering a calf strain in the Mavericks' regular-season finale, Brunson's best was required to keep the team afloat. He put together a 41-point performance in Game 2 and scored 31 points in Game 3 to give the Mavericks a 2-1 series edge before Doncic's return to the lineup.
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The playoffs proved to be a strong success overall for Brunson. He averaged 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists over the course of 18 playoff outings. It was a drastic turnaround from his struggling series against the LA Clippers in the 2021 playoffs.
There have been some estimates that project Brunson to earn potentially $25 million in annual salary on his next contract. Some statistical models even see his value being closer to $30 million per season. Of course, value projections don't tend to greatly take market conditions into account.
The Mavericks can exceed the salary cap using Bird rights to re-sign him and are the only team eligible to offer a five-year contract. Given he has found strong success in his role on a team coming off a Western Conference Finals run, it may be challenging to depart.
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