Dallas didn’t just go outside the organization to find its next general manager, it went outside of NBA teams.
Well-respected Nike executive Nico Harrison is in talks to become the next president of basketball operations in Dallas, reports Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
Harrison reportedly has signed off on Jason Kidd being the next coach of the Mavericks, and the Mavericks are negotiating a contract with him as well, according to ESPN reports. Kidd returns to Dallas where, as a player, he helped lead the 2010 Mavericks to the franchise’s only title.
Michael Finley was the leading internal candidate for the Mavs lead front office job, but after having Donnie Nelson leading the front office for more than two decades before leaving, there was a desire to bring in someone from the outside with a different viewpoint and fresh voice.
Harrison has a deep contact list around the NBA and that is a valuable skill he brings to the table, much along the lines of agents who have made the jump to the front office in recent years (Rob Pelinka with the Lakers, Bob Myers of the Warriors, among others). He also had to help identify talent for Nike to sign and work on contracts, all skills that translate to his new job. However, what he has not done for a living is the kind of player evaluation and roster building required of a team president. Maybe Harrison will be great at it. Maybe not.
The Mavericks’ job is a little different than most because of the direct involvement of Mark Cuban, who has the final say on all basketball moves, and has his hands on the steering wheel more than most owners. It is a collaborative effort with Cuban, Finley, Haralabos Voulgaris (the Director of Quantitative Research and Development for the Mavericks, and reportedly the guy with Cuban’s ear), and now likely Harrison and Kidd.
That group has a lot of work to do to build a contender around Luka Doncic, who is expected to sign a supermax extension this offseason. The challenges start with Kristaps Porzingis, who has proven not to be a No. 2 option on a championship team — or stay healthy — but has and anchor of a contract with three years, $101.4 million still owed him. The Mavs are looking to re-sign Tim Hardaway Jr. this offseason. But this is a team pushing the luxury tax line with limited ways to improve. It will require a lot of creativity from the front office.
A lot of that falls on Harrison’s shoulders, now.