Jalen Brunson’s Free Agency, Trade Market Options and More


The Dallas Mavericks went through big reorganization changes last offseason after parting ways with longtime general manager donnie nelson. They again eliminated the big name hunt with their cap space in free agency and kept the roster the same for the most part. Despite all that, they made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals under the head coach Jason Kidd. He led the team to make internal improvements and took them from the 21st best defense last year to the 7th best this season. The Mavericks are now a more balanced and fundamentally strong team.

So how can the Mavericks build on this season? They will not have ceiling space and may not have any for the foreseeable future. It is largely thanks to Luka DoncicThe maximum extension is starting, as well as important contracts already dedicated to their big players. They head into the offseason with a full roster of 15 men, including their first-round pick, so any big changes will likely come through trade.

Jalen Brunson’s free agency

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Jalen Brunson is the main free agent that Dallas must choose. The four-year-old guard had a career year and a strong playoff performance. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent and should be one of the most sought-after players this offseason among all teams with a cap. The Mavericks will have competition to re-sign Brunson with teams like Detroit, Indiana and New York expected to sue him.

The Mavericks should already pass the luxury tax without moving. Re-signing Brunson to a market value contract would plunge the Mavericks deep into the luxury tax, potentially handing them a tax payout in the range of $50 million. It could be a lot to pay for a roster without a second All-Star, but the owner Marc Cuban has already expressed he plans to be a major taxpayer next season to keep the roster.

Brunson could be looking at a contract that starts at $20 million a year with offers up to $25 million a year. He rebounded from a poor postseason performance in 2021 with a stunning playoff outing, which should help him maintain his value heading into free agency. Brunson could be a sign-and-trade candidate to an over-the-cap team if Dallas decides he doesn’t want a heavy tax burden this season and could get a first-round pick and a trade exception in place.

Explore the trade market

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The Mavericks made one of the most surprising moves at the February deadline when they traded Kristaps Porzingis to wizards for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. It was a very smart move, not only because of Porzingis’ unreliability to stay on the floor and Dinwiddie’s emergence, but also because it sets them up with greater trade flexibility. Splitting Porzingis’ big deal into two smaller, mid-sized deals gives them a better chance of making a consolidation trade going forward.

Dallas may not have the best trade package for an All-Star in terms of young talent or draft picks, but they could be in the mix if one is interested in teaming up with Doncic. There are several high-profile players whose names could be trade rumored this offseason and it’s not out of the realm of possibility, one of them lists the Mavericks as a preference. According Tim McMahon, there could be a mutual interest between the Mavericks and Rudy Gobert if the Jazz decides to make any significant changes this offseason.

They’re limited to trading two first-round picks in 2027 and 2029, but they could also trade a conditional first-round pick in 2025 as well as the 26th selection in this year’s draft. They may have to include most of their draft capital in a potential All-Star trade due to competition from teams like New Orleans and New York with strong trade packages.

The Mavericks have nearly $100 million in average negotiable salaries between their seven highest-paid players behind Doncic. Any large consolidation trade will likely involve several of these players. If the Mavericks re-sign Brunson and don’t make a meaningful upgrade via trade, they could look to cut their payroll to reduce their tax payment or even eliminate it entirely.

SALARY SITUATION 2022-23

Guaranteed wages: $145,019,247

Salaries not guaranteed: $11,036,318

Total salary: $156,055,565

Luxury tax area: $7.1 million more than luxury tax ($11.1 million tax payment)

Exceptions:

Commercial Exception Josh Richardson: $10,865,595 (expires June 29, 2022)

Intermediate taxpayer: $6,392,000

Luka Doncic

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Salary 2022-23: $36,600,000

Guaranteed remaining salary: $212,280,000 until 2026-27

Additional notes: Doncic has a 15% trade bonus which would be waived as he is already earning maximum salary.

Spencer Dinwiddie

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Salary 2022-23: $20,171,428

Guaranteed remaining salary: $28,000,000 until 2023-24

Additional notes: Dinwiddie has $2.6 million in annual incentives, of which $2.2 million is considered likely.

His $18.9 salary for 2023-24 will become fully guaranteed if he plays 50 games in 2022-23.

Tim Hardaway Jr.

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Salary 2022-23: $19,602,273

Guaranteed remaining salary: $53,693,184 until 2024-25

Davis Bertans

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Salary 2022-23: $16,000,000

Guaranteed remaining salary: $44,000,000 through 2024-25

Additional notes: Bertans has an early termination option for 2024-25.

Dorian Finney Smith

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Salary 2022-23: $12,402,000

Guaranteed remaining salary: $55,560,960 until 2025-26

Additional notes: Finney-Smith has a player option worth $15.4 million in 2025-26.

He also has a 5% trade bonus worth $2 million if traded in the offseason, which would increase his salary by $670,000 over the next three seasons.

Its six-month trade restriction due to its extension expires on August 10, 2022.

Dwight Powell

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Salary 2022-23: $11,080,125

Guaranteed remaining salary: $11,080,125

Additional notes: Powell is eligible for extension through the regular season for up to four years, $59.6 million.

Reggie Bullock

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Salary 2022-23: $10,012,800

Guaranteed remaining salary: $15,464,000 until 2023-24

Additional notes: Bullock has a 5% trading bonus.

Maxi Kleber

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Salary 2022-23: $9,000,000

Guaranteed remaining salary: $0

Additional notes: Kleber’s $9 million salary is not guaranteed and becomes fully guaranteed if not waived by July 3, 2022.

He has $475,000 in unlikely incentives.

He will also become eligible for extension throughout the regular season for up to four years, projected at $59 million.

Boban Marjanovic

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Salary 2022-23: $3,500,000

Guaranteed remaining salary: $3,500,000

Trey Burk

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Salary 2022-23: $3,300,000 (player option)

Guaranteed remaining salary: $3,300,000

Additional notes: Burke would become an Early Bird unrestricted free agent if he declined his player option.

He also has a 7.5% trade bonus worth $247,500 if traded in the offseason.

Josh Green

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Salary 2022-23: $3,098,400

Guaranteed remaining salary: $7,863,739 through 2023-24 (assuming team option for 2023-24 is chosen)

Sterling Brown

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Salary 2022-23: $3,000,000

Guaranteed remaining salary: $3,000,000

Marquis Chriss

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Salary 2022-23: $2,193,920

Guaranteed remaining salary: $2,193,920

Franck Ntilikina

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Salary 2022-23: $2,036,318

Guaranteed remaining salary: $0

Additional notes: Ntilikina’s $2 million salary is not guaranteed and becomes fully guaranteed if not canceled by July 4, 2022.

Jalen Brunson

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Cap retention: $1,811,516

Free Agent Type: Bird (unrestricted)

Additional notes: Brunson can still avoid free agency and extend with the Mavericks by June 30, 2022 for up to four years, $55.6 million.

Theo Pinson

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Cap retention: $1,616,044

Free Agent Type: No bird (unlimited)

Moses Wright

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Cap retention: $1,811,516

Free Agent Type: No bird (restricted)

2022 Pick #26

Salary 2022-23: $2,275,680

Guaranteed remaining salary: $11,681,133 through 2025-26 (assuming team options over the final two seasons are recovered)

Additional notes: HoopsHype and ForTheWin’s Draft Expert Bryan Kalbrosky got the Mavericks selected Ishmael Kamagate with the 26th selection overall in their most recent mock draft. Kalbrosky also Julien Strawther ranked 26th best prospect in his most recent grand council.

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