During the early stage of the offseason, the Dallas Mavericks set their focus on adding a secondary star. While they came up empty in that regard, re-signing Tim Hardaway Jr. remained a priority.
On the opening day of free agency, Hardaway Jr. reached an agreement with the Mavericks to return to the team on a four-year, $75 million contract.
"I didn't know where I was going to be at,'' he said. "But I knew and my agent knew that I wanted to be in Dallas. I'm pretty sure the fans knew that as well. Just tried to do the best we could to figure out a situation where I could stay be a part of something special."
Hardaway Jr. had the opportunity to sign elsewhere for a substantially higher amount of total compensation. In fact, he turned down a four-year, $88 million offer from the New Orleans Pelicans before returning to the Mavericks.
Ever since being included in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, Hardaway Jr. has thrived playing for the Mavericks, particularly alongside Luka Doncic.
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Last season, Hardaway Jr. posted averages of 16.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in 28.4 minutes per game. He started in just 31 of the Mavericks' 70 regular season appearances.
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There was thought behind Josh Richardson potentially solidifying himself as the starting two-guard but those efforts ended in failure. The Mavericks moved him to the bench in mid-May ahead of the start of the playoffs.
The level of play Hardaway Jr. provided the Mavericks in the team's first-round playoff series against the LA Clippers was staggering. He averaged 17.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.4 assists while going 40.4% from beyond the arc.
There were no shortage of key moments throughout the Mavericks' playoff series when Hardaway Jr. stepped up in a needed way. He solidified himself as a key piece alongside Luka Doncic going forward.