DALLAS - There continues to be no pretense on the part of the Dallas Mavericks as Tim Hardaway Jr. as the NBA approaches free agency this summer.
“If you talk to anybody that’s around me,” Hardaway said on Monday as the Mavs, ousted from the playoffs, move toward the off-season, “they would tell you that I love it here in Dallas.”
This is not “new news”; DallasBasketball.com has written on numerous occasions - complete with quotes from Mavs owner Mark Cuban - about the mutual interest from the two sides in continuing the contractual relationship.
The Mavericks lost Game 7 in their Round 1 series with the Clippers, but that hasn’t soured the thinking on Hardaway’s value going forward. It’s too early to put a dollar figure on it. And it’s too early to know whether pursuits of other avenues of talent acquisition will impact the Hardaway-related mutual interest here.
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But Dallas can view Hardaway (who views himself as a first-team player) as arguably its second-best player in the series - and while the Mavericks face some Kristaps Porzingis decisions that they’re not ready to admit to in public just yet, Dallas’ positive public and private views of Tim Hardaway Jr. just got reinforced.
Coach Rick Carlisle put a punctuation mark on the concept when asked this week about Hardaway Jr. and NBA free agency.
"Getting him signed,'' the coach said, "is a priority."