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Dallas Mavericks eye Nike exec Nico Harrison as new president of basketball operations

Dallas Mavericks eye Nike exec Nico Harrison as new president of basketball operations
Jan 8, 2020; Dallas, Texas, USA; A view of the Dallas Mavericks city edition logo on a giveaway t-shirt before the game between the Mavericks and the Denver Nuggets the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks and owner Mark Cuban seem to be going bold with their next front office hire, as Nike executive Nico Harrison is in negotiations to become the team’s new president of basketball operations.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news on Thursday, and he and his colleague Tim MacMahon provided further context on Harrison’s qualifications:

The Mavs are also seeking to replace recently fired general manager Donnie Nelson, which is rumored to have upset superstar Luka Doncic. It’d be wise to get someone who’s in sync with the franchise’s most important player.

On the other hand, there’s a fine line between catering to a superstar and hiring someone who seems more like a networking expert than a personnel guru.

According to an ESPN.com report by Woj and MacMahon, Dallas will hire a general manager who’s signed off on Jason Kidd as head coach. That means Harrison will likely be in a role more catered to his innate strengths, as opposed to venturing too far into roster building.

Harrison played college basketball for one year at Army and three seasons at Montana State, and was a pro player in Europe for approximately seven years. However, he is more known for what he’s done as a businessman at Nike.

After taking a job with Nike in 2002, Harrison began meeting many of the biggest stars in the game, and was instrumental in the company’s marketing of NBA players. Harrison worked closely with the late, great Kobe Bryant, according to a profile from Montana State’s official website.

Whatever skill set Harrison brings to the table, the bottom line is, Dallas needs to figure out how to build a real contender around Doncic.

This is the latest twist in a tumultuous offseason for the Mavs, who’ve shaken up their front office and also seen head coach Rick Carlisle exit in favor of the Indiana Pacers’ job.

Kidd has some big shoes to fill as Carlisle’s successor, although it should encourage Dallas fans somewhat that Carlisle publicly endorsed Kidd to replace him, per MacMahon.