ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported last year that Dallas attempted to move up ahead of 2020’s draft in order to land Haliburton, offering the Knicks Jalen Brunson, the No. 18 overall pick (Josh Green) and the No. 31 overall pick (Tyrell Terry) for No. 8 overall that year. The Mavs were unable to find a taker, including the Knicks, who selected Obi Toppin at No. 8.
Interestingly, both Haliburton — who fell to Sacramento at No. 12 — and Toppin now play for the Pacers, while Brunson joined the Knicks in free agency last summer.
It’s noteworthy that Cuban essentially confirmed MacMahon’s report, and the fact that he specifically mentioned Haliburton by name means the Mavs could face a penalty for tampering. The NBA often hands out fines when team executives publicly express any sort of praise or fondness for a rival player.
Cuban also noted that Dallas was coached by Rick Carlisle in 2020, who rejoined the Pacers the following year after parting ways with Dallas. Indiana subsequently traded for Haliburton at the 2022 deadline — about eight months after Carlisle was hired.
An All-Star for the first time in 2022/23, Haliburton averaged 20.7 PPG, 10.4 APG, 3.4 RPG and 1.6 SPG on a stellar .490/.400/.871 shooting line in 56 games (33.6 MPG) for Indiana. The 23-year-old signed a five-year, rookie scale max extension with the Pacers this offseason, so he’s under contract until 2029 (the extension starts in ’24/25).
Haliburton and Brunson are currently competing for Team USA at the 2023 World Cup. Green is also at the World Cup playing for the Australian national team, which has clinched a spot in the 2024 Olympics. The Mavs reportedly opened rookie scale extension talks with the 22-year-old wing a couple weeks ago.