For those who didn’t know the name Jalen Brunson, it must be a big surprise to see his performance in the postseason with the Dallas Mavericks, acting as the team’s leading scorer while Luka Doncic was absent from the court. But for those who have known his name since before the NBA, they know it was only a matter of time before he became a big impact player in the league.
Jalen Brunson’s Rise in the NBA Playoffs
The 25-year-old point guard is tied with Brandon Ingram as the fourth-best scorer in the entire postseason, averaging 29.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.3 three-pointers on 40.9% efficiency, 48.3% from the field overall. The Mavericks had the opportunity to tie him down for the future with a four-year, $55 million dollar extension, but when Brunson and those close to him tried to negotiate with the franchise, he rejected the conversation.
Selected in the second round with the 33rd pick in the 2018 draft, Brunson has been a recurring part of the Mavs’ rotation, and with Jason Kidd in charge of the squad this season, his role was finalized as he proved on the court that he was an unquestioned starter for the Western Conference team. In the postseason he has done even more, making it clear that he is a rising star.
At least, that’s what his father Rick Brunson said in an interview with ESPN, making it clear that the difference between business and vocation is well defined for him and his son.
“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. I told the Mavericks, ‘Once the season is started, there’s no contract talk,’ and I went back against my word. In January, I thought he did enough where he deserved [the extension]. I said, ‘Hey, take the money, man.’ He wants security. He wants to live here. And they declined.
He didn’t turn s— down. Y’all declined first. When y’all came back to him, we said, ‘Hey, we just want to finish out the season and go from there.'”Rick Brunson, former NBA player and father of Jalen Brunson, on his son’s contract extension with the Mavericks.
Brunson currently makes $1,8 million this season, and will become an unrestricted free agent because of the way his rookie contract was constructed, which was negotiated by Leon Rose, current president of operations for the New York Knicks. And coincidentally, two of the teams most interested teams in acquiring Brunson as a free agent following the campaign are the Knicks and the Detroit Pistons.
Executives within the league assure that Jalen will receive a contract that averages $20 million per year, with the Mavericks being able to offer more money in the future for having his prospect rights (they can offer him a five-year contract), unlike the rest of the teams (who can only offer him four). The Knicks have needed a point guard for many years, while the Pistons see Brunson as an ideal partner for their star Cade Cunningham.
However, Brunson himself has made it clear that his next contract is not a distraction for him and will be a point of departure only after the current season ends.
In turn, Mark Cuban has made it clear to the media that he knows he will have to pay good money to keep Jalen, but he must definitely regret not agreeing to sign him to the original maximum extension Brunson and his father sought mid-season, as they are now looking at doubling the total figures in their next pact.