On the same day the Dallas Mavericks moved toward hiring Jason Kidd as their new coach, they also are in the processing of hiring a new executive to helm the front office.
Per multiple reports, Dallas is in negotiations with Nike executive Nico Harrison for him to take on a ‘front office leadership position.’ It’s unclear exactly what his title will be, or even who he’ll report to, but, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, he’ll work in tandem with current VP of Basketball Operations Michael Finley and has relationships with both Finley and Kidd — which, considering how the Rick Carlisle-Bob Voulgaris-Donnie Nelson era ended, feels intentional. Per Woj and Marc Stein, negotiations with Harrison, as well as Kidd, are in “advanced stages.”
Sources: Mavs have offered Nike executive Nico Harrison a front office leadership position. Dallas wants him to work in tandem with Michael Finley.
Harrison and Finley are both close with Jason Kidd, who is expected to be the Mavs' next head coach. https://t.co/84xMgMqmmx
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) June 25, 2021
The Mavericks are progressing on deals with Nike’s Niko Harrison to lead basketball operations and Jason Kidd to become head coach, sources tell @espn_macmahon and me.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 25, 2021
Negotiations between the Mavericks and Nike's Nico Harrison to join their front office have quickly moved to an advanced stage, league sources say.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 25, 2021
Woj noted that Harrison has been pursued for several front office jobs in recent years, but has yet to make the leap from Nike where he is currently the Vice President of Basketball in North America and has direct relationships with a number of players. One of those is Doncic, as he reportedly played a major role in Doncic moving from Nike to Jordan in 2019. He was also Kobe Bryant’s sports marketing manager while Bryant was active NBA player.
Harrison is one of the most respected execs in the footwear industry, and was Kobe Bryant’s longtime sports marketing manager during his career.
Nico was also instrumental in Luka’s shift from Nike to Jordan in Fall 2019. https://t.co/rfttSRkrIb
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) June 25, 2021
The move here clearly seems to be about installing a front office figure that Doncic knows and trusts, and, perhaps, knows other elite players via Nike and can play a part in recruiting them to the Mavericks. Doncic had reported friction with Voulgaris (as well as Carlisle) so bringing in a brain trust that he is already comfortable with feels like a major reason why this move is happening.
Will it work? It’s unclear as of now — Dallas has a lot of challenges ahead of it in the next few years in order to build the best team possible around Doncic. But starting by hiring an executive who Doncic knows well seems like a reasonable place to start when the top priority this summer is inking the young superstar to a supermax extension.