Vince Carter and Shawn Marion are the biggest names possibly on their way out of Mavs Land this offseason. Both have been fixtures on the Dallas Mavericks over the years and both deserve the highest respect from Mavericks fans. In the 2014 NBA Playoffs they performed more than admirably against the San Antonio Spurs and proved they still have something left in the tank.
Anytime a #8 seed pushes a #1 seed to a deciding Game 7, that 8 seed must consider the series a success. Marion and Carter both clearly played instrumental parts in the Mavericks success in the San Antonio series, but real kudos go to the role players who elevated their games to unimaginable levels: Devin Harris and DeJuan Blair.
Harris and Blair, role players in the regular season and leaders in the postseason, set the tempo with their energy, aggressive defense, and efficient offense. Harris spent much of regular season in and out of games from injuries. He flashed difference-making ability but couldn’t do so consistently. Blair wasn’t even a role player in many regular season games and served as a benchwarmer for long stretches of other games.
Before the series, we at Sport DFW (admittedly unabashed Blair and Harris fans) named both players as keys to the San Antonio series and subsequently keys to postseason success. Harris and Blair did little to disappoint (except for the Blair kick that resulted in suspension). Numbers alone didn’t tell the story of their impact.
Devin Harris pushed the ball and forced his will upon his opponents, forcing the Spurs to play both ends of the court. Blair provided the physical presence in the paint that forced the Spurs to bang a little more than usual when facing the Mavs. The question is if these two players can consistently produce these playoff-type performances or if their regular season contributions are what should be expected.
Devin Harris has been drawing interest from a few teams; most notably the Chicago Bulls. Blair’s suspension no-doubt stifled early interest but he is sure to see some attention once the offseason really begins.
It’s difficult to say what kind of price tag Devin Harris will command this offseason. His playoff performance unquestionably drove up his market price but his injury history remains an issue. At age 31 injuries will always be part of Devin Harris. To expect him to put it all behind him is irresponsibly optimistic, but his impact when healthy cannot be ignored.
If Harris can be locked up to a multiyear deal (3 years likely) with reasonable money, he could be well worth it. $2M-$5M per year is the ballpark number but is that worth it for someone who can’t be physically relied on?
Blair is only 25 years old. Despite highly suspect knees, he’s active and plays bigger than his 6’7” height indicates. If given consistent time in the 20 minute range, he could easily provide 10+ points and 8+ rebounds per game, in addition to the aforementioned energy he provides on the court. Blair will be looking for a multiyear deal but certainly won’t break the bank.
Before the Mavs do free agent courting of others, attempts to re-sign Harris and Blair to reasonable deals should be top priority.