Mavs’ Devin Harris is making most of surgery-free summer, despite offseason of ‘limbo’

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.”

Game 16: Mavs vs. Pelicans

Highlights: Mavs vs. Pelicans

Check out the top plays from Sunday's 91-81 win over the New Orleans Pelicans!

Game 15: Mavs at Cavaliers

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Game 14: Mavs vs. Clippers

Highlights: Mavs vs. Clippers

Check out all the top plays from Wednesday night's game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Mavs hope to learn from late-game miscues, costly turnovers against Spurs

DALLAS — After holding their own for 48 minutes against the Southwest Division-leading San Antonio Spurs before eventually suffering a 96-91 loss Monday night on the road, the Dallas Mavericks will look to learn from the costly mistakes that proved to be the difference down the stretch.

Playing without 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki (right Achilles strain), starting point guard Deron Williams (left calf strain), center Andrew Bogut (calf) and fellow veterans J.J. Barea (left calf strain) and Devin Harris (right great toe sprain), the Mavericks (2-11) stepped into the AT&T Center with only 10 players available. The Mavs also hoped to take advantage of a San Antonio squad that opted to rest perennial All-Star big man LaMarcus Aldridge and former NBA Finals MVP Tony Parker, attempting to steal a much-needed road win. Instead, the shorthanded Mavs would fail to hold on to a late fourth-quarter lead. And after falling to their sixth straight loss, the Mavs admittedly felt like they let a win slip through their fingers.

“I mean, we went into this expecting to win it,” swingman Wesley Matthews said after the loss. “I know no one else did, but we did. And that’s how we played. We played well enough to win the game. Even during a couple of stretches that weren’t so well, we still played well enough to win the game. This team didn’t have 100 points, and this could have been ours.”

Led by sharpshooter Seth Curry’s career high-tying 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting and 5 of 10 from three-point range, the Mavericks finished the night with three scorers in double figures as Matthews and versatile forward Harrison Barnes pitched in 20 points apiece. The Mavs also outshot the Spurs for the night, 47.3 percent to 46.7 percent, finishing with a 40-39 rebounding edge and converting San Antonio’s 14 turnovers into 14 points.

However, after committing their own 17 giveaways and allowing 16 points at the other end of the floor off the miscues, the Mavericks know they must play a more efficient game moving forward. That said, the Mavs will look to make the proper adjustments in time for Wednesday’s matchup at home against the high-octane Los Angeles Clippers.

“You know, we had some turnovers that were ill timed,” Barnes confessed. “We had some turnovers that led to fast breaks, and then just a few breakdowns where they just got wide-open looks. You know, we just can’t have that.

“We were right there,” he added. “Seth played great and was hitting shots, getting in the paint. Wes was hitting shots and was getting in the paint as well, so it was great from that perspective. We battled, but we just came up short.”

The Mavericks committed eight turnovers in the fourth quarter alone Monday night, which led to 12 San Antonio points at the other end during the period. The Spurs also outscored the Mavs during the last quarter, 23-18, overshadowing Dallas’ 14-8 rebounding edge and three lead changes down the stretch. Meanwhile, the Dallas defense scrambled to hold the Spurs to 7-of-20 shooting during the final 12 minutes of play, locking in without several of the team’s top offensive options available. And it’s that defensive execution that Mavs coach Rick Carlisle says the team can take moving forward against the NBA-best Clippers (13-2) on Wednesday.

“A lot of positives,” Carlisle said after Monday’s loss. “You know, it comes down to a game of inches. The untimely turnovers and a few unfortunate misses when we had open looks were the difference, but we’re doing an awful lot of things well.”

He added: “It comes down to probably four or five or six plays during the second half that we just were unable to make. Either a turnover that shouldn’t happen or a shot that we just needed to knock in, so it’s tough. But the guys are fighting their (tails) off, and there’s a lot of positives. We’ve got to build on the positives.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to American Airlines Center on Wednesday, hosting the Los Angeles Clippers. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. It will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Andrew Bogut (calf) — out

Devin Harris (right great toe sprain) — out

J.J. Barea (left calf strain) — out

Deron Williams (left calf strain) — out

Dirk Nowitzki (right Achilles strain) — out

Game 13: Mavs at Spurs

Highlights: Mavs vs. Spurs

Check out the top plays from Monday night's game against the San Antonio Spurs.

Game 12: Mavs at Magic

Highlights: Mavs vs. Magic

Jonathan Gibson led the way with 26 points and three other Mavs scored in double figures against the Magic Saturday night.