During the Dallas Mavericks Las Vegas Summer League game against the Phoenix Suns, owner Mark Cuban took a moment during the stoppage in play to speak to the NBAtv crew, where he gave the following answer about moving on from former guard Jalen Brunson:
[Jalen Brunson] was a great player, great scorer but bringing back Tim Hardaway who was hurt the whole time and adding Christian Wood I think we’ll be able to replace that scoring pretty easily. We have a much bigger team, I don’t think we have anybody under 6’4” on the squad.
It’s a bold statement, to indicate that the team will be able to replace the team’s second leading scorer from both the regular season and the playoffs “easily”. Jalen Brunson officially signed his contract with the New York Knicks on Tuesday, ending his four year tenure with the Mavericks. The Mavericks literally will be bigger next season though.
Look, there’s projecting confidence and then there’s hubris. I’m fully behind the notion that the Dallas Mavericks could be better in the long term. Paying Jalen Brunson the kind of money needed to force him to reconsider leaving Dallas might’ve hamstrung the team moving forward; the Mavericks do not have a flexible salary cap situation.
But the notion that it will be easy to replace his offensive contributions is a bit frustrating to hear and to read. Jalen Brunson was an extremely important player, one who steadied the team when they needed consistency earlier in the year and when Doncic wasn’t on the floor. There’s no harm in admitting losing Brunson is tough and yet, to date I don’t believe the Mavericks have made any such assertion. It’s all confidence in the face of tribulation.
To date, this off-season hasn’t panned out the way the Mavericks would’ve wanted and to say otherwise wouldn’t be telling the truth. But, there’s still plenty of off-season to go, so for now let’s reserve judgement. There’s simply nothing easy about replacing players or displaying patience.