DALLAS -- By Mavericks big man standards, Eddy Curry earned himself an eight-figure contract extension Friday night.
Don’t think so? Just look at the roster of the losing Charlotte Bobcats, where bad Dallas big man contracts go to die. Curry at least performed well enough to make Mavs fans forget about Brendan Haywood and DeSagana Diop.
OK, in reality, Curry probably earned the right to stick on the Mavs’ roster with his effort in the 99-82 victory to wrap up the preseason. His 11-point, seven-rebound, three-block, 25-minute outing was pretty impressive considering that he just joined the Mavs in the morning after they made a waiver claim on him.
“I feel like I can help,” Curry said. “As long as I stay healthy and do my part when called upon, I feel like I can be very productive for this team.”
The Mavs need all the help in the middle they can get at this point, as evidenced by Curry slipping right into the starting lineup.
Starter Chris Kaman’s status for the start of the regular season is in doubt due to a strained right calf. Brandan Wright and Elton Brand can give the Mavs minutes at center, but they’re both undersized.
One thing Curry has never been called is undersized. The 7-foot former fourth overall pick is in career-resuscitation mode in large part because he got too big, tipping the scales at well over 300 pounds.
Curry, who spent training camp with the San Antonio Spurs after riding the bench for the NBA champion Miami Heat last season, arrived in Dallas in relatively good shape. He can provide the Mavs with a low-post threat, although Curry needs a few-day crash course on what the Mavs ask of their centers on the defensive end.
Coach Rick Carlisle, who likes Curry’s hands and touch around the basket, mentioned that the big man particularly has to learn how the Mavs want their centers to be aggressive while defending the pick-and-roll.
That’s a point Carlisle made when he pulled Curry out of the game for a possession in the second half, giving him a quick tutorial on the sideline before sending Curry back to the scorers’ table to check in again.
Nevertheless, the 29-year-old Curry seemed to have done enough to stick around for a center-starved team.
“We’ve got a couple more days to analyze that situation,” Carlisle said. “We’ll do that. He’s an intriguing prospect. He’s not that old. ...
“He’s obviously in good shape and he can get in better shape. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. It was good to see him out there. I thought he did some very positive things."
Curry, who played only 24 games over the previous four seasons, admitted that he’s “never been considered a great defender anyway.” He said he’s willing to put in the work, though, and thinks he earned the opportunity to do it in Dallas.
“I’m still learning everybody’s name around here,” Curry said, “so I think every day it will get better.”