Mavs’ Harrison on Hardy: ‘He’s a guy who can go get a bucket’

The Dallas Mavericks did not have draft picks for the second straight year, but this season, they found a way to get into the draft and grabbed G League Ignite guard Jaden Hardy after acquiring the 37th pick from Sacramento in exchange for 2024 and 2028 second-round picks Thursday night.

The 6-4 Hardy spent the 2021-22 season with the NBA G League Ignite and averaged a team-high 19.8 points to go along with 4.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in 24 games. 

“He’s a guy who can go get a bucket,” Mavs GM Nico Harrison said Thursday night. “He’s strong. He’s athletic. He’s a scorer. I think his upside is [that] he’s played with mature guys and been successful with strong, mature guys. I think if you look at a guy doing that in college versus doing that in the G League Ignite, I think it’s closer to what the NBA game is… If you look at his teammates [where] some of them are veterans; he had the ball in his hand because they gave him.”

The 19-year-old Hardy dropped in the draft, surprising many, including Harrison.

“We had him higher than 37 [laughs],” Harrison said Thursday night. “Yeah, we were surprised. We were really shocked that he kept slipping…

“I have no idea. I can’t tell you what other teams are thinking or saying. I’m glad he did, and we are excited that he did. He’s excited to be here, so I’m happy he slipped.”

Hardy was ranked as ESPN’s top guard and the No. 2 player in the 2021 high school class. The Detroit native averaged 30.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 8.4 assists as a junior at Coronado High School (Henderson, Nevada) en route to earning Nevada Gatorade Player of the Year, McDonald’s All-American, and USA Nike Hoops Summit in 2020-21.

Hardy got off to a slow start in the G League, but ultimately, he got acclimated and scored the ball at a high level, scoring over 20 points in the final five games of the season.

“He did struggle early on, but then he figured it out, Harrison said. “It’s kind of like, if you look at the G-League Ignite as an experiment, it shows that it works…

“He’s a young kid, played for the G League Ignite, and he can really score the ball. Super talented, he’s still raw – he’s young, so it’s going take a while. He was a second round draft pick, but he can really score the ball at a high level.”

Hardy can do it effectively off the bounce, is a solid shooter, and is a good addition for the Mavs. He may not contribute immediately, but he definitely has the talent to be a key piece in the future.

Mavs’ Nico Harrison: ‘I don’t think we’re scared of anybody’

The Dallas Mavericks acquired guard Spencer Dinwiddie and forward Dāvis Bertāns from the Washington Wizards in exchange for forward/center Kristaps Porzingis and a protected 2022 second-round pick before Thursday’s trade deadline.

The 26-year-old Porzingis, who was acquired by the Mavs in 2019 from the Knicks, had a hard time staying on the court in Dallas.

Since joining the Mavs, Porzingis played in 134 out of a possible 209 regular-season games, and he’s missed 21 of a possible 55 games this season. Porzingis has missed the last five games due to a bone bruise in his knee.

When he was on the court, he played well as he averaged 20.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks during his time with Dallas.

“He(Porzingis) went through a lot with the injuries,” said Luka Doncic, who had a career-high 51 points Thursday night in the win over the Clippers. “I think this year he was way better. NBA is a business; I wish him all the best in the future.”

After Dallas’ win over the Clippers, Mavs GM Nico Harrison explained why the team traded Porzingis.

“I think it wasn’t just about [Kristaps Porzingis],” he said. “It was about really giving ourselves the flexibility that we need to be the team that we want to be. I think that’s really the bottom line. We were able to give ourselves more flexibility and then add more depth.”

According to Harrison, injuries were not a concern when it came to Porzingis:

“I think it was less about his availability and really more about ‘how do we make the team better.'” Harrison said. “Listen, I think if you look at [Kristaps Porzingis’ injuries], they were knick-knack injuries. If it was the playoffs, he could have played. They were stuff that, during the season, you might sit out, but in the playoffs, he would have played. I don’t think they were a concern.”

In the end, Harrison believes Dallas(33-23), who are 17-5 in their last 22 games, can compete with anybody.

“I think we’re good enough to compete,” he said. “I don’t think we’re scared of anybody. I think we’re good enough to compete. It remains to be seen. I also think we also have room for improvement, but I do like the team.”

Porzingis, who signed a five-year, $158 million deal with the Mavs in 2019. has three years and $101 million left on his contract, but he can opt out after the 2023 season.

The 28-year-old Dinwiddie, who signed a three-year, $60 million deal with the Wizards after a sign-and-trade with Brooklyn this summer, has struggled at times this season. In 44 games, he’s averaging 12.6 points, a career-high 4.7 rebounds, and 5.8 assists. Dallas does not know what will happen with Jalen Brunson, who can become an unrestricted free agent in the summer, so Dinwiddie does give them another guard just in case Brunson decides to go elsewhere.

Regarding Bertans, he has one of the worst contracts in basketball as he has three years and $49 million left on his deal. In 34 games, the 29-year-old is averaging 5.7 points and 1.8 rebounds in 14.7 minutes. Bertans can shoot, and with Doncic, it’s good to have shooting. 

Dallas tried to form a dynamic duo with Doncic and Porzingis. Unfortunately, one was a lot more available than the other. Now, Porzingis has an opportunity to change the narrative about his career, and the Wizards can try to c0nvince Bradley Beal to stay around in Washington.



Mavs hire Harrison as GM, Kidd as coach

The Dallas Mavericks have hired Nico Harrison as general manager and Hall of Famer Jason Kidd as head coach, the team announced on Monday.

Kidd, 48, joins the Mavericks after most recently serving two seasons as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he was part of the franchise’s 2020 NBA championship season.

Kidd, who was inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018, begins his third stint in Dallas after spending eight of his 19 seasons as a player with the team and helping the Mavericks to the 2011 NBA title.

Before joining the Lakers as an assistant in 2019, Kidd was a head coach in Brooklyn and Milwaukee.

“We are excited to welcome J-Kidd and his family back to Dallas,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said. “He possesses a winning mentality that carried him through a Hall of Fame career as a player and has helped him successfully transition to the NBA’s coaching ranks. We are eager for him to get to work and lead our franchise and talented young players into the future.”

Kidd is happy to get this opportunity with the Mavericks.

“Dallas has meant so much to me as a player, and I want to thank Mark Cuban for the opportunity to return as a head coach,” Kidd said. “I am excited to get to work with this young, hungry, and incredibly talented team and to continue to build a winning legacy for the Mavericks organization.”

Harrison joins the Mavericks after spending the last 19 years at Nike, where he most recently held the title of vice president of North America basketball operations. In his role, Harrison supervised Nike’s basketball brand managers and worked closely with many of the brand’s star players, including Hall of Famers Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.

“It’s a true honor to be the general manager of the Mavericks, an iconic franchise with a rich history not only within the NBA but across sports,” said Harrison. “I’m grateful for this rare opportunity and want to thank Mark and the rest of the organization for putting their trust in me to move the team to the next level.”

Before joining Nike in 2002, Harrison played professional basketball in Belgium for over seven years.

Dallas brought in Harrison and Kidd after GM Donnie Nelson and the team decided to part ways and head coach Rick Carlisle’s decision to resign earlier this month. Ultimately, Carlisle became the head coach of the Indiana Pacers.