Bernard James' status unclear

LAS VEGAS -- Sources told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that the Dallas Mavericks convinced Bernard James to extend his contractual deadline back to a later time.

The second-year center’s 2013-14 salary would have been fully guaranteed if he was not released on or before Monday. This extension can be done as long as the team and the player’s agent come to an agreement.

With that deadline passing and his departure from the Las Vegas Summer League coming on Tuesday, many wonder what his official standing was with the organization.

It was an unusual timeline for James while he was in Las Vegas. He participated in the team’s first game on Saturday, was held out of the team’s next game on Sunday and then was sent home late Tuesday night due to "personal reasons," according to a team spokesman. A source told ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon that James' departure was tied to the decision to push back the deadline on his contractual guarantee.

He was out for Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, and his status for the remainder of the tournament remains uncertain.

Going into the summer league, James was the only player still on the books at center. It appears that the center position is starting to take shape.

ESPNDallas.com reported last week that it was a virtual certainty that Brandan Wright would return to the Mavs. It appears likely that a two-year deal in the range of $4 million per season is still in play.

Sources told Stein that the Mavs are closing in on a deal to sign free-agent center Samuel Dalembert as their new starting center. Dallas also continues to pursue free-agent big man Greg Oden, along with the Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs.

The Mavs want to keep James in the mix, but they needed more time as they pursued Dalembert and Oden. The extension of James’ deadline gives the Mavs that opportunity.