Brendan Haywood won't leave with same fanfare

July, 11, 2012
7/11/12
7:02
PM CT
When Brendan Haywood first arrived in the big trade that shipped out Josh Howard in February 2010, the big man in the headband was putting up double-doubles and instantly became a favorite among fans starved for aggressive, enthusiastic center play.

At the time of Haywood's arrival (along with Caron Butler and DeShawn Stevenson), Erick Dampier was injured. Once Dampier returned, Haywood lost his starting gig -- and he wasn't exactly thrilled with it. He would get a promise that summer from coach Rick Carlisle that the starting job would be kept warm for him as they looked to unload Dampier and his fully non-guaranteed final year.

Only they unloaded Dampier and acquired Tyson Chandler, who wasted no time winning the starting job, another decision that didn't sit well with Haywood for much of the championship season.

Haywood's production in Dallas was a roller coaster. The flashes came and went, and so did the duds. His engine didn't run nearly as hot as his fervor for fantasy football, and that was a big issue when the Mavs needed much more out of the position this season.

He was injured for the majority of the NBA Finals and was horrible this past postseason in the sweep to the Oklahoma Thunder, having his playing time basically stripped while averaging 3.3 points and 3.3 rebounds in 15.3 minutes a game, less than backup Ian Mahinmi.

The writing was on the wall at that point that if the Mavs landed Deron Williams -- therefore forcing the use of the amnesty clause on either Haywood or Shawn Marion to create enough cap space -- the 7-footer would be the one to get it.

Even though the Mavs did not get Williams, Wednesday's one-year agreement with Chris Kaman and the Mavs' desire to pursue amnestied 76ers forward Elton Brand, have made Haywood expendable. If the Mavs get Brand, they'll essentially swap out Haywood and Mahinmi for Brand and Kaman.

Haywood, 32, will now be up for bid among teams with cap space. Portland, which lost out on Roy Hibbert after making a max offer to the restricted free agent and was prepared to make an offer for Brook Lopez, and New Orleans could be bidders. If no team bids on him during the waiver process, Haywood will become a free agent.

That summer of 2010, when Carlisle visited Haywood at his North Carolina home and made the promise, Haywood's next visitor was Heat president Pat Riley. If Haywood gets through the waiver process, he could sign a minimum deal and play for the defending champs for a second consecutive season.

No matter what, Haywood will receive the remaining $27.2 million over the final three years of his contract.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsD. Nowitzki 6.2
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9