Memory Bank: Trade for James Donaldson
We'll do this on a weekly basis until the NBA season starts up again and we'll get help from the Mavs site created by the great Patricia Bender.
The previous season the Mavs were starting either Nimphius or Wallace Bryant at center -- two dudes who were back-up quality role players at best. In previous seasons, they rolled with undersized Pat Cummings at the 5. He made up for being physically overmatched by playing hard and spreading the floor with a nice touch out to 18 feet or so. But when he left for New York following the '84 season, the Mavericks had a real donut at center.
And then they traded for Donaldson. He wasn't an offensive threat, but he was a space eater who couldn't be backed down, shot a high percentage while setting great screens and was a decent shot-blocker. In other words, he was someone the Mavs had never had and wouldn't have again until Erick Dampier showed up on the scene about two decades later.
Because the Clippers were never on the tube, most Mav fans had no idea who they were getting. But I was a basketball nerd, so I knew exactly who they were getting and I was ecstatic. This is the dude who was so massive that Daryl Dawkins dubbed him the “American Tourister” because his head was as big as a suitcase and the Mavs were a team desperate for “quality” size. And he gave them what they needed -- he actually made the All-Star Game in '88, the same year the Mavs took the Lakers to seven games in the Western Conference finals.
He wasn't one of the best centers in the league, but his presence shored up a massive weakness and helped the Mavs become one of the league's best teams. At least until Mark Aguirre ruined it all and crushed our souls. But that's a different memory for a different day ... .
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
Play Podcast Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.