Harris lands with Dallas

Former Wisconsin standout selected fifth overall by Washington, traded to the Mavericks

MADISON, Wis.—Devin Harris can breathe a sigh of relief. After months of agonizing over whether or not to forego his senior year at Wisconsin in favor of the pros, the point guard was selected as the fifth pick in Thursday's 2004 NBA Draft.

As an added bonus to cap off the night, he knows where he's going. Originally chosen by the Washington Wizards, he was handed over to the Dallas Mavericks roughly 40 minutes later. The deal is part of a move that includes trading Jerry Stackhouse, Christian Laettner and Washington's first-round selection—Harris—for Antawn Jamison and cash considerations. Although Dallas may make future trades and is currently negotiating one with the Lakers, Harris said he is a Maverick.

"I have talked to (owner) Mark Cuban and (head coach) Don Nelson and they pretty much said, ‘welcome to the Mavericks,'" Harris said in a phone interview. "I don't know of any talks with the Lakers or what they plan on doing with that, so as far as I know, I am staying in Dallas."

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan was not surprised by the trade.

"By the time I got down here to New York, there was a lot of that (trade) talk going on but it was talk and there was a lot of other things flying around too, the fact that this came to fruition means that somebody knew what they were talking about," Ryan said in a phone interview. "Devin was pretty well informed. His people were doing a very good job of keeping him up to task and letting him know what people were saying. Until they pulled the trigger, though, then it's fact. But surprised? No, not at all."

Harris was interviewed by ESPN immediately after Washington selected him, with the knowledge that he most likely would not be a Wizard.

"I think he kind of knew that something was up, just the way it came down," Ryan said. "That's why, when they interviewed him, the guy said ‘do you have any idea where you're playing next year?', Devin said ‘no'. But he knew something was coming."

"I had no idea until today," Harris said. "Today I found out there might be a chance for Dallas and it kind of worked out that way and I got the phone call, and it all worked out well.

"I can say for the first time my first trade happened the first day I was in the NBA. It was a drag but I was excited for this new organization and I'm very excited to go to Dallas."

As a former Wisconsinite, he will be with good company in Dallas. Michael Finley, the only former Badger currently in the league, is a Maverick and, according to Harris, the two dined together Wednesday night.

"Last night, that was kind of worked through my agent because we both have the same agent and being fellow Badgers, that's how it worked out," Harris said.

At Wisconsin, the current Big Ten Player of the Year set a school all-time single-season scoring record with 624 points and scored 1,425 career points in his three seasons, seventh on the Badgers' all-time list. He also has the seventh-highest number of assists, with 295, and is ranked No. 4 on UW's steals list with 164.

Harris was apprehensive about entering the draft and originally tested the draft waters without hiring an agent, giving him the option to return. He decided in early June to hire an agent and officially enter the draft, sealing the doors on a storied career at Madison. Had he known he would have ended up at Dallas, he would not have changed his course of action.

"I probably still would have thought twice about it but, like I said, it's behind me and I've just got to look forward now," Harris said.

Or, in this case, south, toward Dallas.

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