Mavericks Notes: Hardaway, Lively, Williams, Exum

Tim Hardaway Jr. doesn’t mind being used in a reserve role, but he wasn’t aware that was Jason Kidd’s plan before the Mavericks coach explained it on a radio show, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.

Appearing on Saturday Stein Line with Marc Stein, Kidd said Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving and Grant Williams are the definite members of his starting five, with camp competitions to decide the starters at center and small forward. Kidd views Hardaway as the potential leader of his bench unit.

“I’m excited again for Timmy, looking to talk to him about being Sixth Man of the Year,” Kidd said. “That would help our team, put us in a really good seat if he’s up for Sixth Man of the Year. And I think he’s capable of doing that.”

Hardaway has been a part-time starter during most of his time in Dallas and started 45 of the 71 games he played last season, so he’s familiar with either role. He’s willing to do whatever Kidd asks, but he said at Friday’s media day that he and his coach haven’t talked about it.

“You guys heard it first from him,” Hardaway said. “I’m a hybrid, I guess, at this point in my career. Whether I start or come off the bench, I’m not going to be the one to have an ego or anything like that because it doesn’t get you anywhere. I want to win ballgames, just like the rest of the guys on this team. Any other thought is kind of a waste of energy.”

There’s more from Dallas:

  • Rookie center Dereck Lively II is already making a strong impression and will contend for a starting job in camp, Townsend adds. “He’s taken a big, big jump for us here late, being able to play with Luka in the pickup games,” Kidd said. “There’s some excitement between those two.”
  • The Mavericks are still getting used to Williams, who was known for being extremely vocal on the court during his time with the Celtics. Dallas targeted the free agent forward to bring that same energy and a defensive presence to his new team. “I think Grant is a good leader too, he talks a lot,” Doncic told reporters at media day (video link). “Sometimes too much.”
  • Dante Exum plans to return to Partizan Belgrade if he ever plays in Europe again, according to Eurohoops. Exum signed a two-year, $6.15MM contract with the Mavericks this summer that is non-guaranteed for the second season. “Let me say right now, if I ever return to Europe, Partizan is the first option, and probably the only one,” Exum told Mozzart Sport.
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