Jason Terry seeks extension with Mavericks

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Jason Terry may well be the real bellwether for the future of the Dallas Mavericks — do they keep the band together and try to win one more or start building for the future fast.

Terry — the perennial sixth man of the year candidate — is set to make $10.7 million in this, the last year of his deal. (Obviously, he gets a pro-rated share of that due to the lockout.)

And he wants an extension, he tells ESPNDallas.com.

“My focus is to sign an extension because being the core of what we’ve built to this point, I believe they want me here,” Terry said. “And if the extension is not done, then that tells me something different. And so, I’m going to put all my efforts out here to prove to everybody in this league that I’m going to be here for another four to five years playing at a high level.”

Terry will turn 35 by next season, making it unlikely he gets a four or five year deal from anyone.

There are reports the Mavericks want to preserve their cap space next summer to make a run at Deron Williams. To start getting young stars and looking to the future rather than keep this team together.

Terry may be the best way to tell what Dallas is thinking (he or Tyson Chandler, who is a free agent right now). If they want to keep the band together, they will offer Terry a few more years, as he is a valuable part of their squad. If it is time to rebuild they let him go. Just something to watch.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at NBA.com.

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.