DALLAS -- The day after losing Steve Nash, the Dallas
Mavericks secured their new backcourt Friday.
Marquis Daniels, a restricted free agent, agreed to a six-year
deal worth roughly $38 million and top draft pick Devin Harris
signed a contract for at least $7 million over three years.
The duo could take the court together this weekend.
Harris already has joined the Mavericks' summer league team and
Daniels was expected to be added in time for exhibition games
against China's national team on Saturday night and Sunday. Harris
had 15 points in the first game against China on Thursday night.
Harris is coming off a junior season at Wisconsin in which he
was named the Big Ten player of the year. He also broke the
school's single-season scoring record, previously held by current
Mavs star Michael Finley.
Harris was drafted fifth overall by Washington, then dealt to
Dallas with Christian Laettner and Jerry Stackhouse in exchange for
Antawn Jamison. Details of his salary, which was limited by the
league's rookie scale, were not immediately available; however,
last year's scale paid the fifth pick $2.2 million in his first
The Mavs acquired Harris to be Nash's backup and eventual
replacement. The succession plan was speeded up by Nash's decision
Thursday to sign with the Phoenix Suns.
About the same time Thursday night that Dallas decided not to
try matching Phoenix's offer, they agreed to a deal with Daniels.
Nothing can be signed until July 14.
Daniels, who made the league minimum of $366,931 last season
after going undrafted out of Auburn, will receive the midlevel
exception of around $5 million this season, then have annual raises
of 10 percent. The exact figures will be set by the league before
July 14, which is the earliest the contract can be signed.
"Once we got what we wanted, from the team we wanted, Marquis
said, `Let's get it done,"' agent Glenn Schwartzman said Friday.
"This is where his heart is."
Daniels made Dallas' roster in training camp, then started the
season near the end of the bench. He became a starter in March and
into the playoffs.
By scoring 30 points in three of his 15 regular-season starts,
and averaging 15.8 in the playoffs, Daniels turned himself into
quite a commodity on the free-agent market.
About a dozen teams called his agent when the negotiating period
opened late Wednesday. His suitors included Utah, Denver and three
other teams that were well under the salary cap, Schwartzman said.
The Mavericks could've been outbid if a team under the cap
exceeded the midlevel figure. But with free agency just starting,
no team was willing to break the bank for Daniels just yet.
Not wanting to take any chances, the Mavericks made the maximum
offer they could and asked for an immediate answer.
"I think they felt they needed a commitment because they didn't
want to lose both Steve and Marquis," Schwartzman said.