No matter which direction the Dallas Mavericks decide to go with veteran shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. next season, we expect his situation to have a positive impact. If the Mavs trade him, it will likely be because it was a no-brainer type of deal. If they keep him, he should have a bounce-back year based on how the previous two seasons before the last one went.
Last season, Hardaway Jr. played in 42 games before undergoing surgery to repair a foot fracture. He averaged 14.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists, but was unable to convert at his regular clip from deep. He shot just 33.6 percent from beyond the arc after shooting a combined 39.4 percent the two seasons prior.
Although the Mavs have reportedly dangled Hardaway Jr. in trade talks since February, they aren’t just looking to dump his salary, which would likely entail having to give up draft capital. In fact, if the Mavs can’t get what they want for Hardaway Jr., they’re more than willing to play out this next season with his sixth-man production returning to the bench.
“Dallas people have both said we are excited about Tim Hardaway Jr., in theory, being our big offseason addition coming back from injury. He’s going to be back. They also explored the trade market for him at the deadline and again this summer, so he’s definitely a name they’ve brought up to other teams,” said Jake Fischer on the Please Don’t Aggregate This podcast.
“He hasn’t played in a year, and he’s still got a lot of money left on that deal, and there is a general sense around the NBA that $15-plus AAV salaries for shooters have kind of become negative contracts.”
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Although Hardaway Jr. still has three years left on his contract, the amount he’ll make each year descends. He’ll make $19.6 million in 2022-23, $17.9 million in 2023-24, and $16.2 million in 2024-25.
Hardaway Jr. might not be viewed as a positive trade asset right now, but depending on how the first half of next season goes, that perception could change by the time the February trade deadline rolls around.
Either way, he should help the Mavs in a positive going forward. It’s hard for us to see a guy who shot nearly 40 percent from deep for two straight seasons follow it up with two straight 33 percent seasons from deep.
You can follow Dalton Trigg on Twitter at @dalton_trigg
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