The Dallas Mavericks are making a lot of changes but in at least one regard are sticking with the familiar in NBA free agency period as on Monday afternoon they finalized the re-signing veteran wing Tim Hardaway Jr. to a four-year deal worth more than $72 million.
Bringing back Hardaway was a priority for new general manager Nico Harrison and head coach Jason Kidd after the 29-year old became one of the team's unquestioned go-to options in their most recent playoff run.
In the 2020-21 season, Hardaway had one of his best years as a pro, averaging 16.6 points, and 3.3 rebounds while shooting 44.7-percent from the field and 39.1-percent from three -- both of which were the second-best shooting percentages of his nine-year career.
Hardaway also developed an uncanny rapport with Mavs superstar Luka Doncic, who has helped Hardaway realize his potential as a volume scorer over the last three seasons with the Mavericks since coming over in the trade for Kristaps Porzingis.
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Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, who were limited to the first half in the first two preseason games, will play "starter minutes."
The numbers come in lower than some expected. Next to discover is the structure of the deal. Ideally, it leaves room later for the retention of Doncic and others.
Hardaway particularly found his stride coming off of the bench for Dallas as part of the second unit, where he provided a much-needed scoring punch to an otherwise pedestrian reserve group.
Hardaway was so good off of the bench, in fact, that he was in the running for the NBA's Sixth Man Of The Year award for much of the season. That award eventually went to Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz.