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“I think he wants to stay” says Mark Cuban on Jalen Brunson

The Dallas owner projects confidence moving into the off season

NBA: Playoffs-Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Following the season ending loss to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night, Marc Stein spoke with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and one of the topics which came up was the impending free agency for starting guard Jalen Brunson.

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

Cuban was alluding to the fifth year which the Dallas Mavericks can offer Brunson, one more than any other team can offer. “I think JB blossomed as much as anybody on this squad,” Cuban went on to tell Stein.

The fourth year guard’s role changed in the 2021-22 season, starting 61 games after coming off the bench for much of his first three seasons. He answered the call, posting career highs across the board by averaging 16.3 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.9 rebounds. In his second playoffs, he answered the call with Luka Dončić missing the first three games of the playoffs, leading the Mavericks to two wins over the Jazz including an incredible Game 2 performance, pouring in 41 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and dishing five assists. His playoff averages of 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.7 rebounds were all career highs as well.

Following his opening round performance, Brunson’s father Rick made news noting, “We’ve got to figure out if Dallas wants him. Not words. Ain’t no discount. So don’t put it on us. Don’t tell me you love me. Show me.” In the ESPN story, Tim MacMahon said the Mavericks had a chance to lock Brunson in at an extension of 4 years for $55 million but passed due to General Manager Nico Harrison wanting flexibility heading into the trade deadline.

It’s safe to say now that Brunson’s next contract may pass $20 million per year for as many as five years if the Mavericks were to keep him. Cuban is smart in wanting to get ahead of the narrative and putting his hopes for a Brunson return out in public now. Many Mavericks fans have begun including Brunson in Sign-and-Trade possibilities for this summer but the salary cap ramifications make this extremely difficult. Re-signing Brunson is a smart move for the Dallas Mavericks if they can pull it off.

Here’s our latest episode of Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you’re unable to see the embed below, click here to be taken to the podcast directly. Or go to your favorite podcast app and search Mavs Moneyball Podcast.