On Jan. 31, 2019, Tim Hardaway Jr. was easy to see as the piece of the Kristaps Porzingis trade that balanced out the money of DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews. But the Dallas Mavericks are certainly happy with the results, as Hardaway has emerged as a locker room leader and a top-notch 3-point shooter.
Playing alongside the singular force that is Luka Doncic helps. But Hardaway has also knocked down the cleaner looks he’s getting, to the tune of more than 39 percent from beyond the arc each of the last two seasons. He topped 20 points in each of the first two games of Dallas’ first round playoff series against the Clippers, while combining to go 11-for-17 from 3-point range.
In a bit of good timing, as he wraps up the four-year deal the Knicks gave him, Hardaway is set to become a free agent this summer. But going back to February, he and the Mavericks have mutual interest in a long-term deal. Owner Mark Cuban is definitely on-board.
THJ has turned into an elite shooter. He makes us so much better,” said Cuban when asked about the possibility of a Hardaway Jr. extension this summer. “Obviously we can see him being around for a long time, and I know he wants to stay.”
Marc Stein of the New York Times has backed up the notion the Mavericks will make every effort to re-sign Hardaway.
Hardaway cooled off in Game 3 against the Clippers Friday night, with 12 points on 4-for-14 from the floor (4-for-6 from 3-point range). It seems Los Angeles’ defensive plan was to let Doncic “get his”, as he did (44 points), while taking away others. No other Maverick had more than 14 points in the Clippers’ Game 3 win. Hardaway, as quick math will tell you, missed all eight of his 2-point attempts in the game.
Hardaway will have multiple suitors on the the open market. The Miami Heat are already out there as one, along with the idea he could get $20 million a year. That’s not as rich as you might think, with the value of shooting around the league and Hardaway making nearly $19 million this season.
Cap space isn’t an issue for Dallas. They can give Hardaway a deal in line with what his market may bear. Even if that means $20 million per year, on let’s say a two or three-plus one (two or three guaranteed years plus an option). But maybe, based on the mutual fit, Hardaway will take a little less than he could get elsewhere to stay put.