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Dampier chip turned out to be dud

The Mavs entered the offseason hoping for fireworks, optimistic that they’d be able to acquire a co-star for Dirk Nowitzki with one of the most attractive trade assets in the market.

But the Erick Dampier chip turned out to be a dud.

The Mavs were never serious contenders to land any of the free-agent superstars in a sign-and-trade deal. They tried to land Al Jefferson, only to have the Utah Jazz seize the opportunity in the late stages of talks with the Timberwolves.

Less than 24 hours later, the Mavs settled for another overpaid center and a project.

This deal makes financial sense for Mark Cuban. Tyson Chandler, the injury-prone big man on his way from Charlotte to Dallas, will make $12.6 million this season in the final year of his contract. Alexis Ajinca, who will join Ian Mahinmi as former first-round pick French project centers who sit on the pine, will make $1.47 in the final guaranteed season of his rookie deal.

The Bobcats were willing to take Matt Carroll (three years, $11.7 million) and Eduardo Najera (two years, $5.75 million) as the price for improving their bottom line this season.

If healthy, Chandler would combine with Brendan Haywood to make a solid center tandem, although neither big man is an offensive weapon other than finishing around the rim. But that’s a big, big if. He’s missed more than 30 games in each of the last two seasons, when his rebounding rates have dropped drastically.

An optimist might hold out hope that Cuban and Co. will be able to flip Chandler’s expiring contract for an impact player before the trade deadline.

A pessimist – or perhaps a realist – is simply disappointed that the Mavs couldn’t make better use of Dampier’s evaporating contract.