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Rising point guard Jalen Brunson is set to become a free agent, but it appears that he’s not eyeing the open market.
The Athletic’s Tim Cato reported Wednesday that the Dallas Mavericks intend to retain Brunson, and he’s also open to remaining with the team.
“I’ve been told there’s mutual interest on both sides to re-sign him,” Cato wrote, “and Mark Cuban told Bally Sports the Mavericks can offer him more money than anyone else. It’s a statement that indicates intent.”
Brunson is expected to be one of the most coveted players in free agency after his breakout year. The 25-year-old averaged career-highs nearly across the board, posting 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists while shooting 50.2 percent from the field in 31.9 minutes per game.
The Mavericks made a surprise postseason run all the way to the Western Conference Finals, where they fell to the Golden State Warriors in five games. Brunson upped his game during the playoffs with an average of 21.6 points to help Dallas take down the top-seeded Phoenix Suns in the semifinal round.
When star point guard Luka Doncic was sidelined for the start of the first-round series against the Utah Jazz, Brunson answered the call as the team’s top offensive option. He poured in a career-high 41 points to lead the Mavs to a Game 2 victory in a star-making performance.
While there is mutual interest in a reunion, Brunson won’t come cheap for Dallas. ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported last month that league executives expect Brunson to garner a contract in the range of $20-25 million per year.
According to Spotrac, the maximum the Mavs can offer Brunson is a five-year deal worth $175.5 million. It remains to be seen if the organization believes it’s worth such a large investment.