Mavericks confident they’ll re-sign Jalen Brunson

Behind the scenes, Mavericks officials continue to express confidence that they will re-sign Brunson, who becomes an unrestricted free agent in July if Dallas does not sign him to a contract extension by June 30. Brunson and defensive specialist Dorian Finney-Smith are both eligible for extensions before the end of this salary-cap year and the Mavericks naturally hope to keep both given the significant roles they’ve seized. – via Marc Stein @

Brunson is also quietly regarded as Dallas’ most effective and forceful locker-room leader — perhaps not surprising given his role in helping Villanova win two national championships in college. Among the reasons that new Mavericks coach Jason Kidd wanted to form a much-discussed “leadership council” this season, I’m told, was to encourage the council’s three members (Dončić, Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr.) to be more vocal with their teammates. – via Marc Stein @

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