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'I Think He Wants To Stay': Mark Cuban Speaks on Jalen Brunson's Mavs Future

Jalen Brunson is set to reach NBA free agency this offseason. Will the Dallas Mavericks re-sign him?

The final chapter has been written for the 2021-22 Dallas Mavericks after losing 120-110 to the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. After losing the series 4-1, they have officially been eliminated from the postseason. 

The priority for the Mavericks immediately shifts to navigating their options to field the necessary roster around Luka Doncic in order to emerge as a title contender. Among the priorities will be to retain Jalen Brunson in free agency

Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors
Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors
Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors

After the Mavericks' Game 5 loss, Cuban spoke to Bally Sports Southwest to answer questions about the team entering the offseason. He expressed his belief that Brunson "wants to stay" with the Mavericks and why they have an edge to re-sign him.

"We can pay him more than anybody...I think he wants to stay and that's most important," Cuban said. 

Brunson emerged as the Mavericks' full-time starting backcourt partner next to Doncic midseason. He put together a career year with regular-season averages of 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists after starting in 61 of his 79 appearances.

With Doncic sidelined for the initial three games of the Mavericks' first-round series against the Utah Jazz, he stepped up in a major way. During this stretch, Brunson averaged 32.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists in that stretch with a career-high 41-point performance along the way. 

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Brunson continued to make a significant impact for the Mavericks after Doncic made his return to the lineup. After 18 playoff performances during Dallas' run, he averaged 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists with 11 games of at least 20 points.

The projection for Brunson's next contract has a floor of four years, $75 million, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks. Others have stated he could earn upwards of $25 million when he was pulling off playoff heroics against the Jazz. 

Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns
Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns
Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz

There will be no shortage of potential suitors for Brunson in the offseason. His regular-season production was enough to entice many, but his playoff heroics caught the attention of even more decision-makers in front offices around the NBA. 

The New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons have been the most commonly mentioned teams eyeing Brunson's services in the offseason. However, both teams are less competitive than the Mavericks and cannot offer the fifth-year on a contract offer that Dallas is eligible.

The full scope of Brunson's market may not be widely reported yet. A team like the Washington Wizards that need an answer at the point guard position after their short stints with Russell Westbrook and Spencer Dinwiddie. 

The Mavericks' disinterest in facilitating a potential sign-and-trade to help a team like the Knicks to pry Brunson away complicates the landscape for prospective suitors. Only the Pistons could sign him outright with cap space in addition to having a need for a secondary ball-handler.

As long as the Mavericks are willing to pay the luxury tax — and  Cuban has stated he is — there should be a strong outlook to retain Brunson's services.