DENVER – Corey Brewer will forever be remembered by Mavericks fans for his phenomenal eight-minute stint in Game 1 of the 2011 West semifinals, when he came off the bench to spark a comeback at the Staples Center, setting the tone for a stunning sweep of the two-time defending champions.
“Corey won that game against the Lakers for us,” Mark Cuban said recently, “and we’ll be forever in his debt.”
That outing, however, didn’t earn Brewer a spot in the Mavs’ rotation. In fact, he was deemed so expendable that Dallas dealt him and Rudy Fernandez for a 2016 second-round pick in a post-lockout, salary-dump deal with Denver.
Brewer, the slender, springy, 27-year-old small forward, has blossomed into a significant piece of arguably the NBA’s deepest bench in Denver. He’s averaging 11.8 points and 1.4 steals in 24 minutes per game this season, making him a bargain with a $3.24 million salary in the last year of the deal he signed with Dallas midway through the 2010-11 season.
“He has found the perfect situation for him,” said coach Rick Carlisle, who spent many hours working individually with Brewer during the former No. 7 overall pick’s brief stint in Dallas. “They’ve found a player that fits their style.
“Last year when we were formulating our roster and we signed Vince (Carter), there just weren’t going to be a lot of minutes for Fernandez and Brew. And there were financial considerations, so that deal was made. I’m happy for Brew. The guy helped us win a championship."
Cuban called Brewer a “good fit for that system,” referring to the Nuggets’ frenetic pace, but said he had no regret about dealing Brewer to Denver.
“None. Either we were doing what we were going to do or we weren’t, you know?” Cuban said, referring to the Mavs creating salary cap space. “The worst place we could be is caught in between and indecisive. Nope. I mean, he’s a great fit for their team and it’s working out well for him.”