Galen Bronson predicted Mavericks departure, signing with Knicks seen as ‘certainty’

Multiple league sources have said the Dallas Mavericks have been anticipating the possible departure of Jalen Bronson for weeks the athleteAnd now the 25-year-old is certain to sign with the New York Knicks when the free agency opens on Thursday.

While the team went out of the season believing that Bronson preferred a return to Dallas, it is understandable that what New York could offer — a lucrative contract, more opportunities and family ties — was an influential factor in Bronson’s impending decision.

So far, it’s unclear how much the money would affect Bronson’s decision — ESPN reported that Dallas would have offered less money annually than the $100 million show New York is preparing — versus other competing factors, such as Bronson’s bid, Father Rick joined the crew. Nix’s coaching and many other close ties to Bronson’s New York organization. But Mavericks players and executives have recognized the growing possibility of Bronson’s departure as an unrestricted free agent in recent weeks. (Last Thursday, Mark Stein had the first substantive Offseason report on this possibility.) Within the Mavericks, talks have shifted from re-signing Bronson to replacing his production, as well as the possibility of signing and trading a deal involving Bronson that could at least prevent Dallas from losing him for nothing.

Sources, such as the Mavericks, say Bronson may have also gone into this off season thinking he would return to Dallas, and it’s not clear when and why those sentiments changed. If there was one uncomfortable aspect of his last season, in which Bronson would otherwise enjoy breakthrough success as the Mavericks’ second choice, it was the team’s decision to turn down a pre-season extension offer – and then again during it. It’s unclear whether Bronson will actually sign the four-year deal worth $55.5 million, the most Dallas was eligible to offer him during the year. While Rick Bronson told ESPN in April that his son was willing to sign him in January, there was a lot of belief around the league that at that point Bronson had already played himself in more lucrative territory. In any case, the extension has not been officially introduced.

Bronson’s official departure from the Mavericks will be seen as a blow, even if it was recently expected. When the Mavericks’ season at the Western Conference Finals ended last month, team general manager Nico Harrison said re-signing Bronson was the team’s main priority. In the closing months of the season, Dallas embraced his ability to rotate three playmaking guards, something that fueled the team’s career longer than expected. It would be surprising if the team did not repeat this approach next season, which would necessitate replacing Bronson in some way.

As it stands, Dallas will enter next season with a roster of more than $7 million above the luxury tax threshold, making them a tax-paying team for the first time since the 2010-11 NBA season. This was the main argument for keeping Bronson at all costs, even if he would jump the Mavericks beyond the tax penalty they would currently pay if the slate stayed the same.

However, Dallas is expected to remain above the luxury tax line this off season with more moves expected. However, it became clear that the future they were preparing for is the future without Bronson.

(Photo: Kevin Jayraj/USA TODAY Sports)


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