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Friday, July 4, 2014
Mavs still confident they'll keep Harris

By Tim MacMahon

Mavericks sources remain confident that they’ll figure out a way to keep Devin Harris.

The team's point guard Plan A is just likely to cost the Mavs a little more than they anticipated.

Golden State gave Shaun Livingston a three-year, $16 million deal, using the full midlevel exception. Sacramento will sign Darren Collison to an identical deal. Harris is certainly in their class, so it’s reasonable for him to expect to be paid in the $5 million-per-year range. That’s a nice bump from the deal worth a little more than $3 million per year that Harris originally agreed to with the Mavs last summer, only to settle for the veteran’s minimum after the discovery that he needed complicated toe surgery.

In the likely event the Mavs don’t use all their cap space to land one of the available superstar small forwards, the Mavs are prepared to pay market value to keep Harris, who could start over Raymond Felton next season.

If they manage to get Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James to come to Dallas, the Mavs are hopeful that Harris would take less to stay in Dallas on a championship contender, likely getting the cap room exception of about $2.7 million. If it’s a one-year deal, the Mavs would have Harris’ Early Bird rights next summer, allowing them to exceed the cap by paying him up to 104.5 percent of the average salary in the upcoming season.

The Mavs have also been in contact with the agents of guards Isaiah Thomas, Mo Williams and D.J. Augustin.

The 5-foot-9 Thomas, who is being replaced as the Kings’ starter by Collison despite averaging 20.3 points and 6.3 assists last season, is viewed in Dallas as a Plan B option if they aren’t able to get a deal done with Harris.

Williams and Augustin could be fallback options as well, but they could also fill a need for backcourt perimeter shooting ability, even if Harris returns. Williams, who lives in the Dallas area, was Portland’s sixth man last season and can’t be paid more than $3.18 million next season by the Trail Blazers after they used their midlevel exception on center Chris Kaman.

It’s also possible that the Mavs could be in the market for a pair of point guards if they move Felton in a salary-dump deal.