Dallas Mavericks have one clear goal this offseason but a solution won’t be simple

Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports) /

It’s become clear that the Dallas Mavericks have one clear goal heading into the offseason, but a solution for that may not be simple.

Recently, Luka Doncic said the quiet part out loud for the Dallas Mavericks. While they did have their bright moments throughout this season, there’s one variable of the team (compared to last season, which ended in the conference finals) that the team has desperately missed – and that’s the presence of Jalen Brunson.

The Mavs lost Brunson in free agency to the New York Knicks and it’s not something that the team was able to successfully adapt to. Not even in the way of acquiring Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets at the NBA Trade Deadline. On the contrary, that move has looked more and more like a massive mistake.

It’s been so bad for the Mavs this season that they’re on the verge of missing out on the NBA postseason entirely. There’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to qualify for the NBA Play-In Tournament just yet.

No matter how this season ends for the Mavs, which is looking more and more like it will end at the completion of the regular season, there’s one major goal for them heading into the offseason – figuring out what “replacing” Brunson “successfully” looks like.

How aggressive will the Dallas Mavericks be during the offseason?

Luka misses Brunson, probably on multiple fronts – as a locker room presence, perhaps as a friend, and of course on the court. As do the Mavs. There wasn’t a point this season where Dallas “looked right.” And Brunson’s absence was a big part of that.

So the Mavs need to figure out what replacing Brunson successfully means for the team. Does that mean re-signing Kyrie and allowing him to grow into that player for the team? Does that mean just giving Luka space to figure out the new dynamic without Brunson (though that didn’t exactly work this season)?

It’s tough to say. It’s not like the Mavs can simply go sign Brunson. He’s not coming back. And life without Brunson has not been good for the Mavs. In fact, it’s been quite problematic.

And if they’re not careful, it could end up leading to more problems for the franchise in the long run.

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It’s clear that the Mavs have this one priority heading into the offseason. For this team, this core needs to figure out how to replace Brunson. The unfortunate part is that I’m not sure anyone will know how to do that successfully. And it could make for a confusing and disjointing offseason for the Mavs.