Mark Cuban On Jalen Brunson: “I Think He Wants To Stay”

In the wake of their season-ending loss to Golden State on Thursday, the Mavericks will soon shift their attention to offseason roster moves, and no decision this summer will be bigger than the one they make on point guard Jalen Brunson.

Brunson will be an unrestricted free agent, so if he wants to leave, the Mavericks won’t necessarily get the opportunity to match an offer he gets from another team. But team owner Mark Cuban is confident in both the Mavs’ ability to make a strong offer and in Brunson’s desire to remain in Dallas.

We can pay him more than anybody,” Cuban told Marc Stein on Bally Sports Southwest (video link), referring to the fact that Brunson’s Bird rights allow the Mavs to give him more years and more money than any other team. “And I think he wants to stay and that’s most important.”

Cuban went on to highlight the impact that Jason Kidd had on Brunson this past season, suggesting that the 2018 second-round pick “blossomed” under Dallas’ new head coach.

In 79 regular season games (31.9 MPG), Brunson established new career highs in PPG (16.3), APG (4.8), RPG (3.9), and a handful of other categories, while posting an impressive shooting line of .502/.373/.840. He had a strong postseason too, putting up 21.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 3.7 APG on .466/.347/.800 shooting in 18 games (34.9 MPG).

The Mavs’ team salary for 2022/23 is already approaching the tax line and will blow past that threshold if they re-sign Brunson to a deal in the range of $20-25MM per year, so there has been some speculation that he could pried away from Dallas. The Knicks, Pistons, and Pacers have frequently been cited as teams with interest in the 25-year-old.

However, dating back to before February’s trade deadline, the Mavs have been steadfast in their insistence that they want to bring back Brunson, and Cuban’s post-game comments on Thursday showed no sign that stance has changed. Now, it’s a matter of seeing how aggressive they’ll have to be to ward off his rival suitors.

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