The Mavs aren’t bringing the band back together, but it does appear that they are bringing a piece from their past back. ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported that the Mavs and Devin Harris are closing in a three-year deal in the $9 million range. For those who don’t remember, prior to the 2004 draft, Washington and Dallas consummated a deal that ultimately sent the No. 5 pick in that draft, Harris, to Dallas. Harris played three-and-a-half seasons in Dallas before being traded to New Jersey as part of the blockbuster trade that sent Jason Kidd back to the Mavs.
Harris went on to spend four years in New Jersey before being traded to Utah as part of the deal that sent Deron Williams to the Nets. He spent two years in Utah before he was traded to Atlanta. This was rare because a start point guard was not involved in the trade. He was traded in exchange for Marvin Williams.
Harris holds career averages of 12.8 points, 4.9 assists on .441 percent shooting from the field. He played in 58 games for the Hawks and averaged 9.9 points, 4.9 assists on .438 shooting in 2012-2013. Atlanta was 35-23 when Harris played and 24-10 in games that he started. Atlanta was 21-6 when Harris played 25-or-more minutes and 20-8 when he scored in double figures, including 4-0 when he score at least 20 points.
The guard turned 30 in February and now joins a backcourt that is filling up in quick fashion. The Mavs acquired Jose Calderon on Friday, drafted Shane Larkin, signed Gal Mekel as a free agent, have seen Nick Calathes come back to the states in attempt to start his NBA career and still have Josh Akognon as a non guaranteed player.
To Harris’ credit, he’s broadened his game over the years and has seen time at the shooting guard position. His top three five-man lineups in 2012-2013 had him as the shooting guard next to Jeff Teague. Basketball-Reference.com shows that Harris had the best on/off differential on any Hawk player last year at 9.5. That means his impact was felt more when he was on the bench, even more than Josh Smith, Teague or Kyle Korver. That could be something to work off.
The Mavs have liked to operate with a small backcourt over recent years, potentially working in a three-guard lineup. It’s very possible that this could happen with Calderon and Harris working together. It has the potential to be potent on offense, but it still has a likelihood of struggling on the defensive end of the floor. Harris can do a decent job defending the pick-and-roll so that could help counteract what Calderon lacks on defense. Harris as a shooting guard can work, but it’s likely that he’s only a spot option at the two.
Harris was actually last seen in the Metroplex last weekend as he participated in Dirk Nowitzki’s charity baseball game.
This move, if it does go through, means Dallas would have roughly $8 million of space to work with. They still have the ability to flip Shawn Marion, Vince Carter or other parts. It’s likely that they would look at those two as pieces.
Dallas will still need to look at their starting center. If they view Harris strictly as a backup point guard, then they clearly need to keep looking for a shooting guard. It’s hard to imagine that they can find a starting five with the money they have left so it’s likely that a move is on the horizon. They certainly have a cheap point guard, whichever one they pick, they can add in addition to either Marion or Carter.
This is certainly an interesting move for the Mavs. It’s a perplexing one, but these seems to suggest they’re looking at making a move and needed some kind of insurance in order to pursue that route. Moves were wanted and they are coming. It certainly appears like more are on the way.
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He also attended Ball So Hard University. Bryan channels his inner-Clark Kent on a day-to-day basis. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.