According to Haynes, the meetings will be held in New York, with the Knicks considered the strong frontrunners to land the unrestricted free agent on a four-year deal in the neighborhood of $110MM.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, GM Nico Harrison, and head coach Jason Kidd will attend the meeting, per Haynes, as will VP of basketball operations Michael Finley and “maybe one or two” players, sources tell veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein (Twitter link). Stein reports (via Twitter) that the Mavs are very pessimistic that they can convince Brunson to re-sign, but the 25-year-old’s camp sought out meetings with the three teams before coming to a decision.
A league source tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News that the Mavericks have been unwilling to offer more than $106MM to this point, with Brunson reportedly seeking $125MM. Haynes confirms Bondy’s report, stating that Dallas has pitched a five-year, $106MM deal to Brunson, so it sounds like he might be open take a slight per-year discount ($125MM over five years vs. $110MM over four) if the Mavs are willing to go that high using his Bird Rights.
As Haynes observes, Miami’s only pathway to acquiring Brunson would be via sign-and-trade, because the team won’t have the necessary cap space to sign him outright. Such an agreement would be difficult to pull off due to sign-and-trades triggering a hard cap at the tax apron, which would limit Miami’s financial flexibility for the rest of 2022/23. That’s one reason why Haynes refers to the Heat as a “dark horse.”
Here are a couple more notes on Brunson’s free agency:
- “At least one high-ranking member of the Knicks” views Brunson as a top-10 point guard in the NBA, Bondy reports. Given the huge offer the Knicks are reportedly willing to extend, it makes sense that Brunson has fans in high places within the organization.
- In an appearance on “NBA Today,” ESPN’s Bobby Marks (video link) details why a sign-and-trade between the Mavericks and Knicks might make sense for both teams, assuming Brunson winds up with New York.