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Devin Harris has been -- and could still be -- an important piece for the Mavericks

Devin Harris could be finishing out his career where it started -- with the Dallas Mavericks

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Looking Back

Devin Harris has been just about everything for the Dallas Mavericks.

Once upon a time he was the young upstart. A series-changer. Then a key trade-piece, and for a while after a familiar face in a stranger's jersey. In the summer of 2013, he was the prodigal son returned, though a toe injury delayed that return a little while longer than hoped.

Every Player Review

Re-signed by the Dallas Mavericks after a terrific playoff showing last post-season against their other Texas "rival", Devin Harris entered the 2014-15 campaign as the wily veteran, a little slower but crafty and capable. He also entered the season much healthier than he had been the previous year, and it showed.

The 32-year-old guard was shooting close to 40 percent from three the week after New Year's Day. Based on his career numbers, that percentage was likely to come down (and it did), but Harris was an early season story and an important rotation player all year long.

Strangely, though his offensive and defensive ratings were better this season than last season, real plus-minus suggests he was worse at both ends.  Subjectively, I would be hard-pressed to say he was significantly worse, if at all, but one thing to keep in mind is that due to the bevy of small point guards in Rick Carlisle's stable, and the dearth of shooting guards, Harris was asked to play and defend twos quite a bit more than you would ideally want.

Contract status

In second year of four-year, $16.55 million contract; signed through 2016-17, with team option for 2017-18

Looking forward

Devin Harris is one of only three Dallas Mavericks with guaranteed contracts for next season. So, relative to the rest of the roster he has some job security. But in an all-out push for "star player fill-in-the-blank" there is an outside chance he would be traded.

There are plenty of reasons to keep him around, of course, starting with the fact that borderline starter quality guards tend to make more than the very reasonable salary Harris boasts. Though Rick Carlisle and the front office have long asserted their desire to keep Harris as a bench sparkplug, it is at least conceivable that -- should Dallas succeed in its luring of the long-awaited "big fish" -- Harris could be a cheap starter.

Devin's game is not easy to fully appreciate: he's a streaky shooter who can sometimes go into extended slumps.  Though his traditional field goal percentages don't wow you, he supplements his scoring by making an above average number of threes and free throws. He is also outstanding in transition, and teams with J.J. Barea to give Dallas two quality shot-creators who can come off the bench and push the tempo. On defense, Harris is big enough to offer some versatility, and he excels at anticipating driving lanes and either intercepting passes or taking the charge.

If there is a reason for concern, it would be that as Harris continues to age, the athletic, physical style of play he is known for will eventually catch up to him. It feels strange to write as a fan who still clearly remembers the year 2004, but Devin Harris is a 10-year pro now. Injuries have long been a thorn in his side, and at some point the explosiveness that makes him effective will no longer be there. Though he did a pretty good job of taking care of the ball this season (posting a career low turnover rate), Harris is probably not quite skilled enough to survive the loss of his formidable speed. But when exactly that point will come is not certain, and may be long after his current contract expires.

Looking at the point guard free agent pool, options for upgrade are not exactly abundant. Prying Goran Dragic from the Miami Heat will be a difficult task, and after him there is a very, very steep drop-off in talent level. With Tyson Chandler and Monta Ellis possibly hitting free agency and their respective positions clearly necessitating attention and serious dollar signs, Dallas could help create some stability on the roster by keeping the three point-guards not named Rajon Rondo in-house and simply utilizing a committee approach.

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