3. Dallas Mavericks
Having made a shrewd draft-day trade to acquire international phenom Luka Doncic, the Mavs were at it again at this past deadline in acquiring disgruntled New York Knicks unicorn Kristaps Porzingis. Now, instead of floating aimlessly ahead, Dallas’ direction is clear, and with this dynamic duo leading the way, it is sure to be quite prosperous down the line.
Like any team in pursuit of the ultimate goal, two players aren’t enough to get it done. A third almost seems like a prerequisite nowadays, someone capable of playing off the ball while also able to take the reins of the offense if necessary.
The opportunities seem limitless with a potential trio involving Harris, with each’s skill-set complementing the others’ in such a natural way. Doncic is a natural playmaker, while KP is best after setting a screen or operating at the elbow. During this past season, Harris showed a tremendous ability to function in separate roles on the two teams he suited up for.
In Los Angeles, he proved capable of having the offense ran through him as arguably the most talented member of the team. During his relatively short stint the Sixers, he showed a penchant for playing off the ball and knocking down catch-and-shoot jumpers. It’s clear he can be whatever Dallas wants him to be, which may include some fluctuation from game to game and even quarter to quarter.
Where the Mavs may struggle to bring in Harris is their lack of money to offer him. They currently sit a hair under $30 million in cap space, which would fall short of the roughly $35 million max contract he’ll certainly be looking for — although no state income tax could help.
It’s possible they can get to that number by trading the expiring contract of Courtney Lee, who’s set to earn $12.7 million next season. Doing so may require parting with a particular asset, one Dallas may not be so willing to give up after emptying out the cupboard to acquire Luka and Porzingis.
There may also be an issue of fit between the two parties, as both Harris and Porzingis share the same position. KP could make the move down to the center spot, but his frail frame hasn’t held up very well against power forwards, making it difficult to envision him thriving against more physical opponents.
Harris struggled in adapting to a lesser role in Philly. While he may find himself the third wheel in Dallas, he’ll still have plenty of chances to contribute at the offensive end, flanked by two young studs who will only improve over time and help the Mavs climb the Western Conference standings.