- Marc Stein, ESPN Senior Writer
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The Mavericks have two contract decisions to make in the next week now that their roster has been set for Opening Night.
The reality, though, is that those decisions have essentially been made.
A formal announcement that Dallas has picked up the third-year option on guard Roddy Beaubois’ contract – which must happen by Nov. 1 – is just about the easiest call this organization will have all season.
Yet sources close to the situation told ESPNDallas.com that it’s “unlikely” that the Mavericks will pick up the fourth-year option for the 2011-12 season on reserve center Alexis Ajinca before Monday’s deadline, which would make Ajinca an unrestricted free agent next summer.
The Mavericks acquired Ajinca from Charlotte to help make the salary-cap math work in the July deal that brought Tyson Chandler to Dallas. ESPNDallas.com reported at the time that the Mavs -- with Ajinca and freshly signed center Ian Mahinmi both represented by agent Bouna Ndiaye – were immediately encouraged to find a new home for Ajinca via trade if possible since minutes figured to be scarce behind Chandler, Brendan Haywood and Mahimni.
Ajinca has flashed glimpses of his rather reliable mid-range jumper and fits in easily in the Mavs’ locker room with countrymen Beaubois and Mahimni to hang with. But sources reiterated this week that Ajinca remains “very available” via trades and is a natural throw-in to any deal Dallas might make before the Feb. 24 trading deadline given his modest $1.5 million expiring contract.
Drafted No. 20 overall by Charlotte in the 2008 draft, Ajinca played sparingly for the Bobcats in his first two NBA seasons, spending most of the 2009-10 schedule in the D-League because the 7-footer doesn’t have NBA bulk and is still learning to cope with the physicality of the American game. League rules prevented the Mavs from packaging Ajinca with other players in a new trade for 60 days, but that restriction was lifted in mid-September.