DALLAS — Although he admits that his future in Dallas is still very much in the air, Mavericks veteran guard Devin Harris is making the most of heading into this offseason 100 percent healthy.
Bouncing back from offseason surgeries the past two summers, Harris was told he would miss the entire 2016-17 season after suffering a right great toe sprain during the team’s last exhibition game against Denver on Oct. 21. He then patiently rehabbed his way back onto the court, avoiding surgery and an expected three-month layoff to average 6.7 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists an outing in 65 appearances. The 13-year veteran now finds himself being patient once again as the Mavericks’ front office mulls over a decision in regard to his future, entering the summer with a team option on the last year of Harris’ four-year, $16.5 million contract. But according to the cat-quick guard, having the opportunity to train with his teammates has pushed Harris’ indefinite future to the back burner.
“I don’t tend to think of it that way. I just think of it as a surgery-free summer, so I try to enjoy it that way,” Harris explained Tuesday while making an appearance at Mavs Basketball Academy’s overnight camp. “You know, I’m just healthy, working out, and everything else will take care of itself. I don’t really worry about it. Obviously, there’s a little bit of limbo, but like I said, I’m just preparing like I’m going to be here. And if I’m not, then I’m not.
“Like I said, I go about my day like I’m going to be here when October starts. If something different happens, then I’ll just kind of deal with it then.”
Taken by Washington with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2004 draft before being dealt to Dallas, Harris spent his first three seasons with the Mavericks. He was then featured as a centerpiece in the trade with New Jersey that brought future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd back to Dallas in 2008. Harris re-signed with the Mavs during the summer of 2013, but was forced to miss the first 41 games of the ’13-14 season while recovering from surgery to repair the second toe on his left foot. And despite returning that season to average 7.9 points and 4.5 assists in 40 games, Harris would begin an injury-riddled second stint in Dallas.
Harris bounced back to play in 76 games the following season while posting averages of 8.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 22.2 minutes an outing. However, he was later forced to undergo surgery on his left great toe and another procedure on his left thumb last summer, ending a ’15-16 campaign that saw him average 7.6 points, 1.8 assists and 20.0 minutes in 64 games. Harris then ended this season on a high note with 15 points and eight assists in 20 minutes of action during the Mavs’ 100-93 win at Memphis on April 12. But with a decision on Harris’ contract not needing to be made until January, the 34-year-old admits that he doesn’t know what his future ultimately holds in Dallas.
“It’s been good,” Harris said of his offseason thus far. “You know, I’ve just been able to rest my body, slowly working it back into shape, working with the young guys that have been here, and I’ve spent a lot of time working with Wes (Matthews) as well. And it’s just a comfort thing not having to rehab and not having any time where I can’t do what I need to do. So, it’s been good spending time with the family, but also working, too.
“Obviously, it’s a weird position. But when the timing is there and there’s a decision to be made, [agent Jeff Schwartz] will put the best decisions in there for me. It’s hard. I mean, you can’t really go with history. The way the league is going now, it’s hard to put a finger on it. Like I said, we haven’t had a great history in free agency of signing guys. That’s bound to change at some point, or you would think so with the money that’s out there being spent. But like I said, it’s hard to say. The only thing I can do is just kind of be patient, wait to see what happens and just go from there.”