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In return to Dallas, Devin Harris says first month with Nuggets could have gone smoother

Christian Clark Avatar
March 6, 2018

DALLAS — Devin Harris didn’t dillydally after the Nuggets’ practice finished up Monday in Dallas. He had somewhere to be. His daughters were finishing up their day of school in nearby Plano, and Harris planned to pick them up.

“I don’t get to do it much, but they appreciate it,” Harris said. “It was good to spend some time with them.”

Harris’ family stayed behind in Texas after he was traded to the Nuggets in February. Harris spent what amounted to nine seasons of his NBA career with the Mavericks before last month’s trade deadline. The 34-year-old still calls the Dallas-Forth Worth area home.

On Tuesday, Harris will face his old team for the first time since he was moved. The game will mark Harris’ ninth with the Nuggets. He’s averaging 6.0 points in 17.0 minutes per game so far in Denver. Harris’ best individual performance since the trade was in his first game in a Nuggets’ uniform, according to BSN Denver’s Dynamic Player Rater. Harris registered a 51.96 DPR in Denver’s win over Phoenix on Feb. 10.

“It hasn’t gone as smoothly as I like,” Harris said. “But sometimes it takes time. I think I’m getting better each game. The more time I spend with these guys, the better I’ll be.”

Harris has a long history in Dallas. He spent the first 3 1/2 seasons of his career in the city. He was a member of the 2006 Mavericks team that reached the NBA Finals. His second stint with the team began in 2013.

“Well we miss him a lot,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s the quintessential Maverick. The loyalty he has had to this franchise. The things he went through to get himself back in a position to play with his foot injury and all that stuff. He’s a remarkable guy. It’ll be great to see him. But I don’t look forward to competing against him because he’s a really good player.”

Harris received a warm reception upon returning. He caught up with some of his former teammates in the home locker room prior to shootaround. He didn’t have any trouble getting around in the American Airlines Center because his key card still works.

“It still works here,” Harris said with a laugh.

Leaving his home in Dallas wasn’t easy, but getting the chance to join a team making a playoff push was appealing. The Nuggets (35-28) enter Tuesday’s matchup a half-game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Mavericks (19-45), meanwhile, are lottery bound.

“I don’t want to be playing golf on game days,” Harris said shortly after the trade.

The next 19 games will determine if the Nuggets can snap a four-season playoff drought. Right now, Harris is focused on making that push.

After the season is over, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent. The way Carlisle made it sound, a reunion between Harris and the Mavericks isn’t implausible.

“I don’t want to get too sentimental about it, but he’s one of my favorite guys I’ve ever coached just because of his commitment to the franchise, his unbending commitment to team,” Carlisle said. “We miss him a lot. But who knows? Maybe someday, we’ll see him again.”

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