Harris not sure he'll be back with Mavs

Mavs hold a team option on guard Devin Harris, whose future with the team is in doubt
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Mavs hold a team option on guard Devin Harris, whose future with the team is in doubt

Dallas Mavericks

Devin Harris’ future with Dallas Mavericks remains uncertain

April 17, 2017 02:51 PM


With his future in Dallas clouded with uncertainties, Devin Harris realizes he may have played his last game with the Mavericks.

But the veteran guard won’t listen to his gut to get any signs on whether he’ll have to pack his bags and play elsewhere next season.

“I tend to not follow my gut, because once you think one thing ... it’s been pretty spot-on,” Harris said. “Obviously, the first time I left here (in 2008) was very hard.

“My heart was into (remaining with the Mavericks), this is where I wanted to be, but like I said, sometimes the business gets the best of you. So I’ll let the chips fall where they may and try to make the decision possible with the information that I have.”

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The Mavericks have a team option in Harris’ contract that will pay him $4.4 million next season. They can pick up that option or allow him to become a free agent July 1.

“I don’t know at this time exactly what management’s view is,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. “I’m the coach.

“Devin has been one of the great soldiers that I’ve had here in this organization and in this locker room, fighting for this team.”

Harris, 34, said management hasn’t given him any assurances on bringing him back.

“Obviously, it’s a team option,’’ he said. “The ball is in their court, but they haven’t given me any indication.

“I think going into the summer, the draft and free agency kind of plays a part first (as far as the Mavericks’ top priorities). And we’ll kind of see where it is from there.”

Harris has been down this road a few times with the Mavericks. The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder played his first 3  1/2 seasons in the NBA for the Mavericks before they traded him to the New Jersey Nets on Feb. 19, 2008, in a blockbuster deal that brought Jason Kidd back to Dallas.

In the summer of 2013, Harris verbally agreed to sign a three-year, $9 million free agent contract to return to the Mavericks. But the deal was rescinded when the Mavericks discovered Harris needed toe surgery.

The Mavericks, however, restructured Harris’ contract later that summer and signed him to a one-year, $1.3 million deal. That actually worked in Harris’ favor, because he signed a four-year, $16.5 million contract — the fourth year being the team option — on July 17, 2014.

With the Mavericks on a youth movement, they could either draft a point guard (Dallas probably will pick No. 9 overall) or acquire a young point guard via free agency.

And with guards Yogi Ferrell, Seth Curry, J.J. Barea and Wesley Matthews already under contract, and with the team expected to pick up the modest $905,249 team option on Nicolas Brussino’s contract, there might not be any room on their roster to accommodate Harris.

“Obviously, I’d like him to stay here healthy as long as he can,” Carlisle said. “He’s playing at such a high level.

“Some of that will be determined by other things. Right now, it’s just impossible to know.”

The operative word in Carlisle’s previous remark is healthy. Harris sprained his right big toe Oct. 21 in the preseason finale at Denver, and that ultimately put this season in jeopardy for the 13-year veteran.

“For me, this year was just a blessing,” Harris said. “Early in the year, I was initially told I was going to miss the season.

“I was supposed to have surgery — another foot injury — but I was able to kind of rest it and it healed on its own. So just to be able to get out there and be productive was just great for me, personally.”

Harris wound up missing the first 16 games this season. Once he got his bearings, he finished the season averaging 6.7 points and 2.1 assists in just 16.7 minutes per game.

That includes averaging 7.8 points and 2.6 assists in 16.6 minutes per game over the final 23 games.

“I think the last month or so — or two months — when I’ve been healthy, I’ve kind of shown what I’m capable of doing,” Harris said. “At this point, I just kind of let the chips fall where they may and see what happens.

“But just going (in the off-season) healthy and knowing what I need to do and kind of building on the season that I had, I think is important.”

Dwain Price: 817-390-7760, @dwainprice