Devin Harris has had an exciting career even if all you regarded was trades and only trades. No lay-ups, no half-court game winners. Nothing else except the trades he has been involved in. There, I have a lead.
After three very successful seasons for Coach Bo Ryan and the Wisconsin Badgers, the Senior-to-be declared for the NBA Draft and was taken 5th overall by the Washington Wizards in the 2004 NBA Draft. Sort of.
Like my 2013 NBA Draft piece made note of, the NBA Draft transaction process is all over the place.
So while the Wizards selected Harris with the 5th selection, it was no secret that this pick was being made for the Dallas Mavericks in a trade for Antawn Jamison. (Mavs also received Jerry Stackhouse and the remaining life forms in Christian Laettner)
The Mavericks were complete strangers to a pick this high in recent years and Washington had one of their seemingly bi-annual impulses to try and become some sort of contender. Steve Nash’s time in Dallas was about to be over and the spot for a Dirk-patible franchise point guard was vacant.
Devin Harris started out hot, winning over many fans – including yours truly – and was looking like the real deal from a draft pick slot as high as Dallas had selected since they took Jason Kidd second in 1995. The irony is just…delicious.
Devin Harris’ time in Dallas was full of winning, winning, winning. The Mavericks were 2 wins away in 2006 and won 67 games in 2007. No more on that.
But many factors like injuries, inconsistency with playing time and play, also Avery Johnson’s voice marred Devin’s (first set of) Dallas. The biggest kicker though seemed to be Harris’ lack of pure point guard skills and the misfit next to Jason Terry.
Finally after much discussion, the Mavericks dealt Harris, two first rounders and three others for Jason Kidd.
I was sad. Devin Harris was(is) my favorite Mavericks player ever and I didn’t want to see him go. Apparently neither did former NBA swingman Devean George, who is remembered for three things; being a champion Laker, looking like that guy from “Cousin Skeeter” and inexplicably possessing a no-trade clause in his Mavericks contract.
So, Devean George, playing 15.5 minutes a game, had the power to stop a National Basketball Association transaction. (A power only possessed today by KG, Duncan, Dirk & Kobe)
Momentarily I was ecstatic that my favorite player wasn’t leaving but a guy scoring only 3.7 more ppg than a fan sitting courtside can’t stop wheels from turning. Jason Kidd was coming and Devin Harris, two first rounders and whatever else was needed were going. (Turned out to be Keith Van Horn, Diop, and turrible Mo Ager)
Devin Harris became the future at point guard yet again, this time for a new franchise; the New Jersey Nets. At the time the Nets were (in New Jersey) simply dreadful. The organization fans instantly invested into Devin with chants and t-shirt promotions and he responded with very good numbers.
On December 19, 2009 in the Mavs’ first game at New Jersey since the trade, Devin Harris lit us up for 41 points and a season-high 13 assists (pure PG?!) as the very rebuilding Nets romped the Mavericks. Towards the end of the game, Nets fans were chanting “Thank you Cuban!” as Mark was sitting courtside. (and almost averaging 3.7 ppg)
In the 2010-2011 season everything changed. A Russian billionaire bought the Nets and Deron Williams became available by the Utah Jazz, who didn’t want to lose him for nothing in free agency a season and a half later as the league was still humming about LeBron James’ “Decision.”
The newly budgeted Nets dealt Harris, recently selected third overall forward Derrick Favors, two first round picks and cash to the Jazz for Deron Williams.
Utah had great fans and a good team but Deron wanted to play in a big market. Cleveland had good fans as well, but they didn’t have a good team. Yet Jazz management jumped the free agency gun and got a great return for someone they knew would not return. Cleveland didn’t and has picked first overall twice in three drafts since LeBron departed the allure of playing with earlier mentioned but 6 years older Antawn Jamison and the dynamic-not- Mo Williams.
Anyway, what was I fragmenting about again?
Devin Harris was once again viewed as a potential franchise point guard in his third destination. After all, he was dealt as a valuable commodity not a roster-crowding leftover…and he was replacing all-star Deron Williams.
A little over a year later the Jazz dealt Devin to the Atlanta Hawks for severe draft bust Marvin Williams, selected 2nd overall a year after Devin went 5th. Picks 3 and 4 of the 2005 NBA Draft were Deron Williams and Chris Paul. The Hawks have never even come close to recovering. Same with Portland-Durant-Oden.
Devin Harris’ single season in Atlanta was very forgettable. The Hawks have cool uniforms, but otherwise it’s quite a mess there in the “Highlight Factory.” With the addition of Devin, FA acquisition Lou Williams and the already-instilled guard of the future for the ATL, Jeff Teague, there was a lot of initial clutter in the Hawks’ 2012-13 backcourt. Unfortunately it cleared nicely but for naughty reasons. Lou Williams tore his ACL halfway through January and Devin’s constant injury woes continued to plague him in his contract year…greatly affecting his value which was now a distant shadow from years ago.
Which brings us to present day. Well, almost. 33 days ago Devin Harris signed a contract that lit up my phone but more importantly lit me up from head to toe all the way through the fingers and toes.
I was soooooooooooooooooooo happy.
Of course the move drew skepticism from MFFL’s, even myself, who was hardly coherent after learning that Devin would be returning to the place he started his career 9 years ago. The Mavs – after “losing” on Dwight Howard to their neighbor (divisionally and geographically) Houston Rockets.
Ensuing moves included 4 years and $29 million to floor general José Manuel Calderón Borrallo, who has quietly put up great numbers the past 8 years, just to be hidden in Toronto and then more than hidden in Detroit in the second half of last year’s season. Mavs fans will be pleasantly surprised.
He will pass to Dirk in a way Jason Kidd knew to whereas Darren Collison didn’t, Mike James sort of did, Derek Fisher sucks, Dominique Jones never really learned the NBA game – which includes passing to your far and away best player – OJ Mayo also sucks, and I had a dream where I played point guard for the 12-13 Mavericks and I never took a shot. Seriously, why didn’t they pass to Dirk? See: 2011…2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005…you get it. Oj Mayo was really bad, my goodness.
Tender subject for me. So Glad he’s gone.
Dallas also signed Samuel Dalembert, Wayne Ellington, Monta Ellis (!), Israeli point guard Gal Mekel and drafted – or acquired in a series of trades on draft night – Miami Hurricane point guard Shane Larkin. So there was a bit of a logjam at PG.
But just like a cold $9 hamburger that you waited in line 12 minutes for at Cowboys Stadium can hurt your chances of another purchase, the Mavericks display at the point guard position in the 2012-2013 season might have resulted in a note from Head Coach Rick Carlisle, slid under Owner Mark Cuban’s door reading…
I’ll take 5 point guards this year. Don’t even care about other positions, just give me 5 point guards. If you have to get half a dozen, by all means, do not hesitate boss.
I believe it. Why not? Derek Fisher.
But before Devin (or any other free agents) could officially put pen to contractual paper, injuries hit the Mavericks array of point guards.
Shane Larkin broke his ankle (hold the jokes it wasn’t defensively) in practice before Summer League even took off.
And Devin Harris, way way way too familiar with the injury bug himself the past couple seasons, was revealed to have a toe injury, voiding his initial deal for about $9 million over 3 seasons.
Injuries and depth aside, the Mavericks wanted Devin Harris back and the feeling was mutual. Over the years Harris has worked to become a combo guard (PG/SG) instead of a natural distributor. Most fans think of Devin Harris, former Mavs point guard. However injuries and constant changes in environment forced Harris’ hand and he adapted into a role that could still suit the Mavs.
So, on July 31, Dallas and me were given a nice present (while the Rangers didn’t deal for a bat on the day’s MLB Trading Deadline) when Devin Harris finalized a deal for the veteran’s minimum and solidified his return!
Back in Dallas Mavs blue, Harris will make $1.3 million over a year. I’m pretty darn confident the return on the investment will be a good one!
Welcome back Favorite Mav Ever, @Dev34Harris !!!!!