Jalen Brunson is considered a top-five free agent in this year’s offseason. The point guard for the Dallas Mavericks had his best season to date, averaging 16.3 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game. Brunson has steadily improved in each of his NBA seasons and now is the most coveted free agent point guard behind Kyrie Irving if he chooses to exercise his player option with the Brooklyn Nets.
Brunson is the son of former NBA player and New York Knick, Rick Brunson. The fourth-year point guard’s stock certainly rose this postseason, especially filling in for the injured Luka Doncic. Brunson carried the Mavs in Luka’s absence in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz. He averaged 27.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game, including an incredible 41-point performance to level the series 1-1 in game two.
Now, after recent reporting that Kyrie Irving and the Nets are at an ‘impasse,’ Brooklyn may be looking at point guard replacements.
Irving for Brunson Straight-Up Trade
Earlier this month, NBA Analyst Bill Simmons suggested a few scenarios for where Kyrie Irving may end up next season.
“When we did the “Where is Kyrie going?” segment on my pod 2 weeks ago, here were the fake trades I wrote down. (PS: I can’t imagine OKC would take Russ but that’s the only way LA has a chance at Kyrie; Brooklyn taking Russ back would be… insane?)” Simmons tweeted.
While the trades are fake, one of the more interesting ones includes the prospect of adding Jalen Brunson in a sign-and-trade. For one, are the Nets getting enough value back in the deal?
Brooklyn Receives: Jalen Brunson in sign-and-trade.
Dallas Receives: Kyrie Irving in sign-and-trade.
Of the value that Brooklyn might not get back in return, Simmons added:
“Also: Kyrie doesn’t have nearly as much trade value as many fans might think after how the last four years played out. It’s like 30-35 cents in the dollar. I still think Kyrie opting in for a wait-and-see final year with Brooklyn is the most likely outcome.”
Kyrie’s Status in Brooklyn
What is making Irving’s trade value less than what it likely should be? Heavy’s own NBA Insider Sean Deveney reported why the Nets worry about signing Irving to a long-term deal.
“When Kyrie Irving plays, he is still one of the best in the game,” one Eastern Conference general manager told Deveney. “But there are a lot of doubts about how committed he is to keep playing, how much he really wants to do this. If you are going to give someone that kind of money, you better be sure they’re going to put in the work. And you want to be protected if not.”
Deveney’s reports help provide added context to what was reported by Shams Charania of there being an impasse between Irving and Brooklyn.
“One of the most anticipated free-agency situations involves Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving, who has a June 29 deadline on his $36.9 million player option for the 2022-23 season. However, multiple sources tell The Athletic that conversations about Irving’s future have gone stagnant between him and the Nets. An impasse currently exists among the parties that clears the way for the seven-time All-Star to consider the open marketplace,” Charania writes for “The Athletic”.
Many still expect Irving to be back in Brooklyn at the start of next season. Reports seem to go each way. Whether he returns on a short-term deal, long-term deal, or not at all will be seen in a matter of weeks once the All-Star point guard opts-out of the final year on his current contract.