2024 Finals could mark end of Mavericks veteran's time in Dallas

Dallas Mavericks, Tim Hardaway Jr.
Dallas Mavericks, Tim Hardaway Jr. / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

Heading into the 2024 NBA Playoffs, Tim Hardaway Jr. had an opportunity to be the x-factor for the Dallas Mavericks.

Unfortunately, he hasn't prevailed in living up to the role in being the X-factor.

Entering the NBA Finals against the Celtics, Hardaway Jr. will have pressure on himself as his tenure in Dallas could come to an end after the Finals concludes considering how he has played for the last couple of months.

2024 Finals could mark end of Tim Hardaway Jr.'s time in Dallas

Since February, Hardaway Jr. has struggled, as he has had only two 20-point games. Despite a rough final three months, Hardaway Jr. averaged the third most points on the Mavs in the regular season with 14.4 and had a chance to give the Mavs a boost off the bench for the NBA Playoffs.

Unfortunately for Hardaway Jr., the Playoffs have been rough. Hardaway Jr. only played in the first two games of the first-round series of against the Clippers and averaged 11 minutes per game after sustaining a right ankle sprain. When Hardaway Jr. returned in round two against the Thunder, there was one game where Hardaway Jr. seemed to have gained confidence back.

In Dallas' 119-110 Game 2 win against the Thunder in round two, Hardaway Jr. scored 17 points off the bench and shot 60 percent (6-of-10) from the field. But, the grove would last for one game. After Game 2, Hardaway Jr. didn't score 10 points again.

Against the Timberwolves in the Conference Finals, Hardaway Jr. only played in the first two games and went scoreless in 15 total minutes played. In the 2024 Playoffs, Hardaway Jr. has averaged 4.6 points per game.

With not playing in the past three games against the Timberwolves, it might gives signs his time in Dallas can end. A trade could be in the future this summer with being unplayable at times in the Playoffs.

Hardaway Jr. has been rumored to be on the trade block in Dallas before and with the Mavs in the Finals, the Mavs could see themselves interested in trading him for another player for depth after the Finals concludes. After next season, Hardaway Jr.'s contract does end, and the Mavs might look to get his contract off its hands.

If Hardaway Jr. is able to perform better in the NBA Finals than the last three rounds, opinions on Hardaway Jr. from Dallas fans could change. Game 1 of the Finals on Thursday is a good start for Hardaway Jr. to turn his game around if given playing time.