Mavericks offseason preview: Jalen Brunson's free agency, trade market options and more

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Mavericks offseason preview: Jalen Brunson's free agency, trade market options and more

Mavericks

Mavericks offseason preview: Jalen Brunson's free agency, trade market options and more

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The Dallas Mavericks underwent big reorganizational changes last offseason after parting ways with longtime general manager Donnie Nelson. They once again struck out big-name hunting with their cap space in free agency and kept the same roster for the most part. Despite all that, they made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals under head coach Jason Kidd. He led the team to make internal improvements and took them from being the 21st best defense last year to the 7th best this season. The Mavericks are now a more balanced and foundationally sound team.

So how can the Mavericks build off this season? They won’t have cap space and might not have any in the foreseeable future. This is largely thanks to Luka Doncic‘s maximum extension kicking in, as well as sizeable contracts already dedicated to their great role players. They are heading into the offseason with a full 15-man roster, including their first-round pick, so any significant changes will likely come through trade.

Jalen Brunson's free agency

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Jalen Brunson is the main free agent Dallas needs to decide on. The four-year 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 more sought-after players this offseason from any team with cap space. The Mavericks will have competition in re-signing Brunson with teams like Detroit, Indiana, and New York expected to pursue him.

The Mavericks are already projected to be over the luxury tax without making any moves. Re-signing Brunson to a market value contract would put the Mavericks deep into the luxury tax, potentially giving them a tax payment in the $50 million range. That could be a lot to pay for a roster without a second All-Star, but owner Mark Cuban has already expressed he plans on being a significant taxpayer next season to retain the roster.

Brunson could be looking at a contract that starts as low as $20 million annually with offers getting as high as $25 million annually. He bounced back from a poor 2021 playoff performance with a superb outing this postseason, so that should help maintain his value heading into free agency. Brunson could be a sign-and-trade candidate to an over-the-cap team if Dallas decides they do not want a big tax burden this season and could get a first-round pick and a trade exception instead.

Explore the trade market

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The Mavericks made one of the more surprising moves at February’s deadline when they traded Kristaps Porzingis to the Wizards for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. This was a very savvy move not just because of Porzingis’ unreliability to stay on the floor and Dinwiddie’s emergence, but because it sets them up with greater trade flexibility. Splitting Porzingis’ big contract into two smaller mid-sized contracts gives them a better chance at making a consolidation trade in the future.

Dallas may not have the best trade package out there 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 big-name players whose names could be in trade rumors this offseason and it isn’t out of the realm of possibilities one of them lists the Mavericks as a preference. According to Tim MacMahon, there could be mutual interest between the Mavericks and Rudy Gobert should the Jazz decide to make significant changes this offseason.

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

The Mavericks have nearly $100 million in tradeable mid-sized salaries between their seven highest-paid players behind Doncic. Any big consolidation trade will likely involve several of these players. If the Mavericks re-sign Brunson and do not make a significant upgrade via trade, they could look to reduce their payroll to lower their tax payment or even eliminate it completely.

2022-23 SALARY SITUATION

Guaranteed salaries: $145,019,247

Non-guaranteed salaries: $11,036,318

Total salary: $156,055,565

Luxury tax space: $7.1 million over the luxury tax ($11.1 million tax payment)

Exceptions:

Josh Richardson trade exception: $10,865,595 (expires June 29, 2022)

Taxpayer Mid-level: $6,392,000

Luka Doncic

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2022-23 salary: $36,600,000

Remaining salary guaranteed: $212,280,000 through 2026-27

Additional notes: Doncic has a 15 percent trade bonus that would be voided since he is already earning a maximum salary.

Spencer Dinwiddie

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2022-23 salary: $20,171,428

Remaining salary guaranteed: $28,000,000 through 2023-24

Additional notes: Dinwiddie has $2.6 million in annual incentives, $2.2 million of which are 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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2022-23 salary: $19,602,273

Remaining salary guaranteed: $53,693,184 through 2024-25

Davis Bertans

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2022-23 salary: $16,000,000

Remaining salary guaranteed: $44,000,000 through 2024-25

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

Dorian Finney-Smith

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2022-23 salary: $12,402,000

Remaining salary guaranteed: $55,560,960 through 2025-26

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

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

His six-month trade restriction due to his extension expires on August 10, 2022.

Dwight Powell

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2022-23 salary: $11,080,125

Remaining salary guaranteed: $11,080,125

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

Reggie Bullock

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2022-23 salary: $10,012,800

Remaining salary guaranteed: $15,464,000 through 2023-24

Additional notes: Bullock has a 5 percent trade bonus.

Maxi Kleber

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2022-23 salary: $9,000,000

Remaining salary guaranteed: $0

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

He has $475,000 in unlikely incentives.

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

Boban Marjanovic

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2022-23 salary: $3,500,000

Remaining salary guaranteed: $3,500,000

Trey Burke

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

Remaining salary guaranteed: $3,300,000

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

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

Josh Green

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2022-23 salary: $3,098,400

Remaining salary guaranteed: $7,863,739 through 2023-24 (assuming team option for 2023-24 gets picked up)

Sterling Brown

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2022-23 salary: $3,000,000

Remaining salary guaranteed: $3,000,000

Marquese Chriss

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2022-23 salary: $2,193,920

Remaining salary guaranteed: $2,193,920

Frank Ntilikina

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2022-23 salary: $2,036,318

Remaining salary guaranteed: $0

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

Jalen Brunson

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Cap hold: $1,811,516

Type of free agent: 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 hold: $1,616,044

Type of free agent: Non Bird (unrestricted)

Moses Wright

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Cap hold: $1,811,516

Type of free agent: Non Bird (restricted)

2022 Pick No. 26

2022-23 salary: $2,275,680

Remaining salary guaranteed: $11,681,133 through 2025-26 (assuming team options on last two seasons are picked up)

Additional notes: HoopsHype and ForTheWin’s draft expert Bryan Kalbrosky has the Mavericks selecting Ismael Kamagate with the 26th overall selection in his most recent mock draft. Kalbrosky also has Julian Strawther ranked as the 26th best prospect in his most recent big board.

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