Jalen Brunson should be the Pacers’ primary target in free agency

Jalen Brunson - Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Jalen Brunson - Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

With the NBA Playoffs well underway, the Indiana Pacers can zoom in on their preliminary targets in the offseason aside from the upcoming NBA Draft, which is in free agency. One postseason standout so far has been Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson, who is certainly on the verge of an expensive bidding war in the summer.

The Pacers are one of the few teams with considerable cap space, making Brunson a viable target that they pursue. While the Mavericks are tabbed to re-sign him by all accounts, and they can twirl around their limited wiggle room as they hold his Bird rights, his price could easily skyrocket beyond their capacity, making Brunson a bit of a flight risk for Dallas. To quote the point guard’s father, “We’ve got to figure out if Dallas wants him. Not words. Ain’t no discount.

The Indiana Pacers should aggressively pursue Jalen Brunson in free agency

According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, some people believe that the floor for Jalen Brunson’s next contract is in the $20 million range, an amount that the Indiana Pacers can hash out as they are projected to have a tad over $25 million to spend in free agency.

With Tyrese Haliburton and Malcolm Brogdon at the helm, the point guard position is not an urgent need to fill for the Pacers, but Brunson fits the timeline and the roster better than the latter, who is pegged by most to be a central trade target for multiple clubs this summer.

Should Indiana manage to use the NBA Draft to presumably make big upgrades on the frontcourt, then the floor is open for them to upgrade the other positions. However, the crop of free agents in the offseason is not loaded in the forward positions, prompting them to look at their backcourt options instead to amplify the roster.

Brunson has already proven himself to be able to thrive even next to a high-usage guard, logging a career-year this season despite playing next to Luka Doncic, who owns the highest usage rate in the league.

Next to Haliburton, the 25-year-old should have no problem acclimating, as he is just as good without the ball in his hands as when he handles the rock with his solid three-point shooting and underrated ability to score against opposing guards with his speed and bulk in drives.

With ample cash to stash, the Indiana Pacers should not play it safe in this eventful offseason. While pursuing Jalen Brunson is more of a luxury move, the team cannot afford to pass on upgrades, especially with them not being a premier free agent destination. Money talks. Thus, they should strike the iron while still hot and be aggressive in pursuing the breakout star of the playoffs if they want to return to competitiveness as soon as possible.

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