Fresh off a surprise run to the 2022 Western Conference Finals, the Dallas Mavericks already have a lot going for them. Surrounding Luka Doncic with more quality talent during the NBA offseason will be key for Dallas. In the hopes of building on this year’s success and capturing championship gold next season, the Mavs will be conducting an all-out effort to continually improve and get more help for Doncic. This includes trying to retain key free agent Jalen Brunson, though there will be stiff competition from the New York Knicks and potentially others against the Mavs to sign him.
With that, let’s now discuss four players the Mavericks must sign in 2022 NBA Free Agency to take the next step in 2022-23.
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Mavs 2022 NBA Free Agency Targets
4. P.J. Tucker
P.J. Tucker is a fierce competitor on both ends of the floor, an NBA champion, and a veteran leader whose dedication to the game would do wonders for this young Mavs squad. His 3-point shooting, versatile defensive prowess, and aggressive play would set the tone and toughen up a Mavericks team that was better than expected defensively last season. Tucker’s presence would only add to this and give Dallas a battle-hardened vet who would be a well-respected voice in the locker room and in the huddle.
Unfortunately, Tucker might just be out of Dallas’ price range. The Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly preparing to give the veteran a three-year, $30 million contract, which is something the Mavs aren’t in position to offer. Still, Dallas should put in a call.
After a relatively quiet tenure with the Philadelphia 76ers as Joel Embiid’s backup, Andre Drummond made his presence known in the second half of the 2021-22 NBA season with the Brooklyn Nets. While playing for the Nets, Drummond posted averages of 7.9 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists while shooting 57% from the field.
His size and length would both be huge assets for the Mavs, who boasted a relatively thin frontline all last season. His rebounding and low-post scoring would be crucial for Dallas and allow him to form a killer pick-and-roll game with Luka Doncic. Drummond would also be a great lob threat for the Mavs as well.
During the 2021-22 NBA campaign, DeMarcus Cousins showed flashes of his former self with his highly productive play as a member of the Denver Nuggets. While playing as a backup center to Nikola Jokic, Cousins averaged 9.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.5 assists while shooting 46% from the field and 30.3% from beyond the arc.
He provided the Nuggets with frontcourt depth and gave some much-needed relief to Jokic. As one of the toughest players in the league with a well-rounded offensive game, Cousins would be another high quality addition for Dallas. His active hands would also be a huge help to the Mavs on the boards and on defense.
1. Jalen Brunson
During the 2022 NBA Playoffs, Jalen Brunson took a star turn and stepped his game up drastically while Doncic was sidelined to start the series against the Utah Jazz. Brunson’s multi-faceted scoring punch and elite playmaking were a driving force behind Dallas’ success throughout the postseason. If the Mavericks are hoping to repeat this success in 2023, bringing back Brunson will be of utter importance for them.
Not to mention Brunson’s game is a perfect complement to Doncic and gives the Mavs a reliable second option in crunch time scenarios. Brunson rose to the occasion and elevated his play to a whole new level during this year’s playoffs. So bringing him back on a lucrative should be a top priority for Dallas during the 2022 NBA offseason.
As noted, the Knicks are planning to make a big run at Brunson with an offer worth at least $100 million and perhaps even higher. The Mavs can trump any offer from New York, so we will see just how much the franchise values him as the payroll given the high luxury tax bill.