Devin Harris originally inked a three year, $9 million contract to be the Dallas Mavericks' backup point guard, even before the signing of Monta Ellis. After a physical revealed he would need toe surgery, expectations changed. With Ellis now in play and the cap all tied up, some questioned if Harris was in the Mavs plans, but he accepted a one year deal at the veteran's minimum.
While his play and percentages were erratic, his presence on the court was important. After rookies Shane Larkin and Gal Mekel handled the backup point guard duties for the first half of the season, having a ten-year veteran run the show was a welcomed sight. Since Harris returned to the lineup, the Mavs bench saw a drastic jump in production. During the final 41 games of the season, the bench averaged 39.1 points, a huge climb from the 31.8 points prior to his return. More importantly than the increase in scoring, the Mavericks' second unit was second in the NBA in +/- at +2.3 during the stretch thanks to the connection and chemistry of Harris, Vince Carter and Brandan Wright.
We finally saw glimpses of the Harris we all expected to have during the playoffs, averaging 11.4 points and 3.9 assists and finally finding his shot -- 47 percent from the floor and 44 percent from three.
Harris's days as a starting point guard are probably behind him, but he still has plenty left in the tank. He's proven he can still get to the basket, make shots and make plays for his teammates. While his defense has dropped off, he's still good enough to be a factor on that side of the ball. As always, injuries are a concern with Harris. Every time he falls or winces, you find yourself holding your breath, but like he said in his exit interview, it's encouraging that he heads into the offseason with no injuries for the first time in several years.
Even with the injury concerns, his ability to play both guard positions and have an impact on the game in different ways will most likely make him a hot name on the market. As we've already heard the Chicago Bulls mentioned as a team with interest for the guard to either backup or fill-in for the oft-injured Derrick Rose.
That being said, like Carter, expect the Mavs to try to keep the guard in Dallas. From day one, Rick Carlisle showed he has plenty of faith in Harris; he allowed him to pull up for those T.V.-remote-flinging 2-for-1 threes over and over. More importantly, due to a lack of combo guards on the market who can also counter Calderon's style of play, keeping Harris should and probably will be a priority for the team. Finally, not many other teams may offer him the freedom he has on the court with the Mavericks.
- Expected deal: 3 years, $9 million
- Chance he remains a Maverick: 67%