The inflation in the market for backup point guards didn’t end up affecting the Mavericks’ negotiations for Devin Harris much after all.
A source said Harris and the Mavs agreed to a deal similar to the one they originally struck last summer (three years, $9-plus million), only to mutually agree to pull it off the table after the discovery that he needed complicated toe surgery. The details of the deal are still being finalized, but it will be a great bargain for the Mavs in a market in which point guards Shaun Livingston and Darren Collison were given the full mid-level exception, getting three-year, $16 million deals from the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings, respectively.
Harris, a key component of the Mavs’ bench in the second half of the season and playoffs, likely could have squeezed more money out of another team. However, he said all along that he wanted to stay in Dallas.
The Mavs were equally determined to keep Harris, making it clear that he was a priority when Mark Cuban met the 10-year veteran point guard in the opening minutes of free agency.
That mutual love resulted in relatively easy negotiations. The Mavs hope the same holds true for sixth man Vince Carter.
Harris could play an even more significant role for the Mavs next season due to Jose Calderon being dealt to the New York Knicks in the Tyson Chandler trade. The tentative plan is for Harris to come off the bench again -- the Mavs love his chemistry with high-leaping reserve center Brandan Wright -- but Harris’ minutes could increase after averaging 20.5 per game last season.
That might have been the case anyway with Harris a full year removed from the surgery that sidelined him for the first half of last season. It’s possible that Harris ends up playing more minutes than Raymond Felton, the Knicks castoff who is penciled in as the Mavs’ starting point guard. (It’s also still possible that Felton could be moved in a salary-dump deal to free up more cap space if the Mavs need it.)
No matter the minutes, as long as Harris can stay healthy, this is a great deal for Dallas.