DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison can finally say he has made a draft pick.
The second-year GM and his club traded back into the the NBA draft in a deal with Sacramento, acquiring G League player Jaden Hardy after the Kings drafted him 37th overall in the second round Thursday night.
Dallas was on the verge of going without a pick for the second consecutive year before moving back in. The Mavericks are sending 2024 and 2028 second-round picks to the Kings.
The Mavericks had the 26th pick in the first round, but traded it last week to Houston for Christian Wood in an effort to improve their frontcourt after it was exposed in a five-game loss to Golden State in the Western Conference semifinals.
The trade for Wood was the second big move for Harrison since taking over for Donnie Nelson after the 2020-21 season. Harrison’s first splash was sending Kristaps Porzingis to Washington before the trade deadline in February in a deal that ended the effort to create a unique European pairing with superstar point guard Luka Doncic.
The Mavericks didn’t have a pick in last summer’s draft in part because they sent that first-round pick to New York in the deal that brought Porzingis to Dallas.
King chose the G League Ignite over the college route after a high school career in Nevada, taking a long-range shooting reputation into the developmental league and averaging 19.8 points while shooting just 38%.
Hardy, who turns 20 next month, was a potential lottery pick before a poor start to the G League season hurt his draft stock. He played with his brother, former UNLV and Oregon player Amauri Hardy.
The Detroit-raised Hardy cut short his senior season in high school when he was averaging 30 points, nine rebounds and eight assists per game. A few months later, he announced he was joining the G League instead of signing with Kentucky or UCLA, his most likely college destinations.
Hardy will have difficulty breaking into the rotation of shooting guards in a backcourt led by Doncic.
Dorian Finney-Smith, Reggie Bullock and Spencer Dinwiddie are returning after taking turns as key playoff contributors as the Mavericks made their deepest postseason run in 11 years. Tim Hardaway Jr. is returning after missing most of last season with a broken foot.
The Mavericks also want to re-sign Jalen Brunson, another point guard who ended up starting alongside Doncic most of last season. The New York Knicks appear to be positioning themselves for a run at Brunson.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports