As the Dallas Mavericks made their push to the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference, Tim Hardaway Jr. stepped up. Over a 10-game stretch from April 26-May 12, he averaged 24 points per game on nearly 53 percent from the floor and 45.7 percent from 3-point range. All told, he had a nice season (16.6 points per game; 39.1 percent from beyond the arc). In 2019-20, he averaged 15.8 points game on a career-best 39.8 percent from 3-point range.
Hardaway finished with 207 made 3-pointers during the regular season. It’s the second straight season he’s reached the 200 mark, and his career-high total. He owns two of three seasons with 200-plus made threes in Mavericks’ history. The last two seasons being shortened makes the feat a little more impressive.
Hardaway is also set to be a free agent this offseason. The Miami Heat have already surfaced as a possible suitor, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Fischer has Hardaway on his list of under-the-radar free agents who could get huge paydays this offseason.
Per Fischer, here’s what a personnel evaluator and a cap expert said about Hardaway.
He’s one of the best pure scorers in the league,” said the personnel evaluator. “He can just move the scoreboard when he gets into the game. I think Dallas is using him in the role that most high-level teams would want to use him, the way that Utah’s weaponized Clarkson off the bench. He could start for a lot of teams, but because he’s a high-usage guy, he’s better off the bench.”
I like him for what he is,” said the cap expert. “It wouldn’t shock me if he got up to 20.”
Hardaway is wrapping up a current four-year, $71 million deal, with an $18.975 million salary this year. So an uptick to $20 million per year is realistically in the cards coming off two good seasons. At 29 years old, another four-year deal seems possible. His current deal was technically a three-year deal with a player option. That framework would surely work well again.
The Mavericks could give Hardaway the payday he’s in line for. The Heat surfacing as a suitor is interesting, within the current construction of that roster as well as the idea his dad played for them. At a glance, $20 million a year feels high for someone like Hardaway. But there’s still a solid premium for perimeter shooting and scoring, and Hardaway can solidify his next contract with a good run in the playoffs.