Mavericks swingman Tim Hardaway Jr. has had a terrific year for Dallas, but Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News wonders if the reserve wing will look for greater opportunity in unrestricted free agency this summer. Hardaway is in the final season of a four-year, $71MM deal he initially inked with the Knicks.
Hardaway has been primarily a bench contributor to the Mavericks this season, having been a reserve in 49 of the 70 games he has played. Townsend notes that Hardaway’s play has positioned him as a potential Sixth Man of the Year candidate for 2020/21. “If I go on the bench, I think this bench that we have is deep,” Hardaway said. “Whether I’m starting, whether I’m coming off the bench, it’s just me trying to be aggressive and be the best basketball player I can be for the team.”
“(Mavericks head coach) Rick Carlisle’s done a great job with him,” raved Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue. “He’s playing at a high level right now. I think he’s their X-factor.”
There’s more out of Dallas:
- The capacity of the Mavericks’ home arena, American Airlines Center, has been boosted to 12,000 fans for the playoffs, writes Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. Team owner Mark Cuban said he would prefer to have full-capacity crowds, but amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the NBA is still imposing crowd capacity restrictions. “Now we know we’ll be at at least (12,000), and we’re pushing if we can get some modifications done to the arena in time to get to (15,000),” Cuban said in an interview with local radio station 105.3 KRLD-FM The Fan.
- The ability of Mavericks All-Star guard Luka Doncic and forward Kristaps Porzingis to thrive alongside one another will not only dictate the team’s playoff ceiling this spring, but will have an impact on the team’s long-term future, writes Tim Cato of The Athletic.
- Former Mavericks reserve point guard J.J. Barea, who recently joined Cangrejeros de Santurce in his native Puerto Rico, spoke with Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News in an extended conversation. Barea notes that his NBA career appears close to over, but he would relish the opportunity to perhaps return to Dallas as an assistant coach. “I want to stay in contact with the team for the next couple years, and then definitely, when a coaching job opens up, I want to keep getting my experience ready for coaching,” Barea said. “I would love to work for the Mavericks and be in Dallas and be a part of the Mavericks forever.”