Should the Dallas Mavericks have interest in James Harden?
Now that it’s established the Mavericks could acquire Harden given the perfect storm of circumstances, the question then becomes should the Mavs want Harden on their team?
The immediate rebuttal for those against this move would be that he and Doncic could never possibly coexist. Two ball-dominant guards whose games practically mirror each other seem like a difficult match. The amount of isolation plays that would need to be called would go against everything Carlisle preaches. Questions of who is the second option, who takes the last shot, and who can play off the ball better would arise almost instantly.
There is also a case that Harden might just be too talented to not work. The same questions arose when Harden was paired with notorious ball-dominant guards, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook. Yet, despite the wonky fit, Harden was able to make a conference semifinals appearance with Westbrook last season, falling to eventual NBA Champions, Los Angeles Lakers. He earned a Western Conference Finals berth with Chris Paul two years prior, losing to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors.
Harden has made it work in difficult situations, and the case can be made neither Paul nor Westbrook, was ever the caliber of player that Doncic is, especially at that stage in their careers. Perhaps the pairing of Harden and Doncic might be too talented to fail.
Of course, there comes into question what timeline the Dallas Mavericks might be on should they go all-in on a 31-year-old star, but when an opportunity like this presents itself, Dallas has shown they are willing to swing for the fences for that right guy. If they want to cause a massive shift in the NBA paradigm, this might be their best shot.