Jalen Brunson to Pistons? Detroit tried

Jalen Brunson #13 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts to a missed shot and rebound against Jerami Grant #9 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Jalen Brunson #13 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts to a missed shot and rebound against Jerami Grant #9 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons were certainly doing their due diligence as the trade deadline approached, even if only one deal came to fruition. A report has now come out that they inquired about Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson. The Mavs price was a bit too steep (Actually, very steep).

What people actually see occuring at the NBA trade deadline is sort of like an iceberg, the deals you see actually consummated are merely the tip. Plenty of other trades are proposed, but end up underwater.

One of those proposed trades that never happened has bubbled to the surface. According to ESPN’s Tim McMahon, the Pistons called the Dallas Mavericks seeking guard Jalen Brunson.

Brunson, a teammate of Saddiq Bey’s at Villanova, is having a good year with Dallas, averaging 16.1 points a game. He is also going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Hoping to poach a good player from a team that will get nothing if he walks in the off-season, it was a smart move for the Pistons (we assume general manager Troy Weaver) to give Dallas a ring, and see about whether they were interested in dealing Brunson.

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The answer was no, a really big NO.

Of course, to say you would need to give up a Rookie of the Year candidate, who is under team control for three more years, for a player who will be a free agent at the end of the season, is absurd on the face of it.

Oh, and the fact Cade Cunningham is a better player than Brunson is also a reason Detroit quickly said ‘Bye, have a nice day’.

Asking for Cade Cunningham was just a ploy, signaling to the Pistons they have no intention of trading Brunson, as no self-respecting NBA general manager would consider that move. Dallas must be confident they can re-sign Brunson, or they would have shopped him around at the trade deadline, instead of making smarmy jokes to those who inquired.

Would a Jalen Brunson/Cunningham backcourt work for Detroit Pistons?

Brunson is still a possibility for the Pistons. He is a free agent and Detroit has more cap space than anyone else in the NBA. If Weaver really values Brunson, he can make a really, nice offer.

Brunson is only 6-foot-1, much smaller than 6-3 Cory Joseph or 6-5 Killian Hayes, who Cunningham is usually paired with now. But he can score, and also serve as an excellent secondary ballhandler.

And as a Villanova trained player, Brunson can play defense.

Detroit was probably looking to do the same thing they are now doing with Marvin Bagley III. Bring the player in, see how he fits in with the key guys (i.e. Cunningham and Bey) and, if it looks good, make him an offer to return.

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In a weak free agent market, Brunson, if he has not been locked up by the Mavericks, will be one of the more prized players. The Pistons tried to a pre-emptive strike to get him, but they can be patient. Wait until the summer, and then throw a lot of money at him this summer – and not have to trade anything to get Brunson.