Why Tim Hardaway Jr. is the Mavericks' biggest question mark this season

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat
Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Entering the 2022-23 NBA season, the Dallas Mavericks had a looming question over their head, that being whether to start Tim Hardaway Jr. or if they would feature him in a prominent role off the bench. The Mavericks elected to take their chances and subject Hardaway Jr. to a bench role that would better suit the defensive end of the floor in the starting unit.

This decision would quickly be reversed, and within 20 games, Hardaway Jr. would become a starter alongside Luka Doncic. In the starting unit, we arguably saw the best version of Hardaway Jr. By January, Hardaway Jr. would bolster his offensive productions to just under 17 points per game while shooting 39 percent from behind the arc.

By the trade deadline on February 9, Hardaway Jr. had established himself as a prominent role player who split times off the bench and in the starting unit. But one question remained. Will Tim Hardaway Jr. be traded?

Many trade packages included Hardaway Jr's. name in them, including a fan-favorite trade for Cleveland Cavaliers guard Caris Lavert. However, this never came to fruition, and Hardaway Jr. remained a Maverick for the time being, but many Mavs fans expected him to be packaged away during the offseason.

Tim Hardaway Jr. still remains a Maverick headed into the 2023-24 season, but this could be subject to change at any point as it has been reported that Dallas is looking to trade him for some time now.

Tim Hardaway Jr will not be a Mav for much longer

The addition of Seth Curry In free agency and the emergence of Jaden Hardy creates a very stranglehold role for Tim Hardaway Jr. The Mavericks should look to open up minutes for both Hardy and Curry, but in doing so, they would need to restrict Hardaway Jr.'s minutes.

Additionally, Hardaway Jr. is 31 years old and on a descending contract that expires in 2025. A contract like this for Hardaway Jr.'s output could be considered very favorable for any team looking to take a veteran on a soon-to-be-expiring contact back in a trade.

Hardaway Jr. may have some rough stretches of shooting, but his ability to demand the defense's attention could be favorable for a team looking to make a championship run. The Mavericks already have two true shot-making guards, so getting off Hardaway Jr.'s contact should be a priority by the 2024 trade deadline.

Last season was likely the best version of Tim Hardaway Jr. that we will see in a Mavericks uniform. Furthermore, trading him away while his value is high should be the biggest point of emphasis for the Dallas Mavericks if they want to make a move for a starting-caliber center.

Hardaway Jr. now enters his 12 season, and this could be regarded as the most questionable offseason in his career.

Will Hardaway Jr. be traded?

Only time will tell.

But stay tuned for more updates on the Dallas Mavericks as they gear up for training camp which begins at the end of September.