Mavs’ Bold Plans For 2 Key Players, Including Tim Hardaway Jr.

Tim Hardaway Jr, Dallas Mavericks, NBA Rumors
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks’ Game 5 NBA Finals loss to the Boston Celtics might have been Tim Hardaway Jr.’s final game as a member of the organization.

According to our own Grant Afseth, reporting for MavericksGameday.com, the Mavericks seek to re-sign impending free agent Derrick Jones Jr., but they may need to unlock the non-taxpayer mid-level exception to do so, which could require finding a suitor to take on Hardaway’s contract to get under the luxury tax.

“According to league sources, rival teams anticipate the Mavericks trying to trade Tim Hardaway Jr. to unlock the non-taxpayer mid-level exception to re-sign Derrick Jones Jr., who will enter free agency after playing out a one-year contract worth the veteran’s minimum,” Afseth wrote.

Hardaway is entering the final season of the four-year deal he signed with the Mavericks in 2021 after receiving limited minutes during the postseason, even becoming a DNP-CD in the Western Conference Finals at times. He is set to play on an expiring $16.2 million contract next season before entering unrestricted free agency in 2025.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Tim Hardaway Jr, Derrick Jones Jr, Dallas Mavericks Updates

That marks a decrease from the $17.9 million salary he earned last season, thanks to the frontloaded contract he signed with the Mavericks after moving into their starting group at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

Since then, however, Hardaway has played decreasing minutes off the bench, and the Mavericks have tried trading him without success over the past few seasons. He stayed in Dallas for 2023-24, during which he started 12 games during the regular season and none in the playoffs.

With just one year left on the deal, the trade outcome could be different this summer, given teams could view him acquiring his contract as more of a financial move than a basketball one unless there’s a team interested in adding more shooting without a long-term commitment.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Tim Hardaway Jr, Derrick Jones Jr, Dallas Mavericks Updates

Attempting to move Hardaway means that the Mavericks will likely try to re-sign Derrick Jones Jr., who became Dallas’ starting wing on a one-year, $2.7 veteran minimum deal. Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison said bringing Jones back for next season would be “priority 1A and 1B” this summer.

Jones started all 22 postseason games for the Mavericks after emerging as a full-time starter in March after losing five of six games shortly after the NBA All-Star Break. While Daniel Gafford was also inserted into the first unit, Dallas won 16 of 18 games, clinching the fifth seed in the Western Conference with two games left, allowing the team to sit starters.

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