Sources: Mavericks back in mix for Fesenko
December, 30, 2011
By Marc Stein | ESPNDallas.com
The Dallas Mavericks are back in the mix to land free-agent center Kyrylo Fesenko after the Golden State Warriors passed on the Ukranian big man, according to sources close to the situation.
Fesenko had committed to signing with the Warriors earlier this week, but sources told ESPN.com that Golden State and Fesenko "mutally" canceled their plans to finalize a one-year deal worth just under $1.1 million, in part because Fesenko needs an additional week or two to get into game shape after September knee surgery.
Sources said Fesenko is now leaning toward accepting the Mavs' one-year minimum offer and is likely to make a decision by early next week.
Fesenko was injured playing for Mike Fratello-coached Ukraine during the European Championships late in the summer and is in the final stages of his recovery. The Warriors' interest in Fesenko faded, sources said, once he arrived in the Bay Area and it became clear that he wouldn't be able to play immediately.
The Mavericks, meanwhile, are simply trying to fortify a frontcourt rotation still recovering from the departure of Tyson Chandler via sign-and-trade to the New York Knicks.
Newly-signed Sean Williams has made a promising start since joining his hometown Mavericks last week, but sources say that Dallas remains interested in filling its final open roster spot with an additional shot-blocker or rebounder.
Toronto and Miami were also known to be chasing Fesenko along with the Mavs when the 25-year-old chose Golden State, but one source close to the process said Friday that the Raptors have withdrawn from the chase. Another source said Friday that the Memphis Grizzlies also have interest in the 7-foot-1, 290-pounder, but the Grizzlies' 15th and final roster is reportedly reserved for the re-signing of Hamed Haddadi.
Fesenko has played sparingly in four seasons with the Jazz after being taken in the second round of the 2007 NBA Draft. But Dallas is intent on filling the void created by Chandler's departure with depth and variety, having already added a lanky shot-blocking specialist in Williams, who starred at Mansfield High and for the Mavericks' D-League affiliate in Frisco last season.
If Fesenko chooses to sign elsewhere, Dallas is expected to keep pursuing free-agent targets on short-term deals, based on the premise that having a full complement of 15 players is the best way for the league's second-oldest team (behind only Atlanta) to cope with the rigors of a 66-game schedule in the space of four months.