- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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DALLAS -- As far as president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson is concerned, the Mavericks don’t have to make a decision about Samuel Dalembert’s partially guaranteed contract this summer.
That decision has already been made.
The Mavs signed Dalembert to a two-year deal this summer, but only $1.8 million of the big man’s $3.87 million salary next season is guaranteed. However, Nelson said the Mavs fully intend to have Dalembert return next season.
“Absolutely we’ll have Sam back,” Nelson said of the center who is averaging 6.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 20.3 minutes per game this season.
That would at least temporarily halt the 32-year-old center’s tour around the NBA. The Mavs are the fifth team Dalembert has played for in the last five seasons.
Nelson acknowledges that the Mavs signed Dalembert late last summer in what was essentially a desperation move. After missing out on Dwight Howard and spending the majority of their cap space on guards Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon, the Mavs had a glaring hole at center. Dalembert, a part-time starter at his previous few stops, didn’t have any other teams offering him a starting job.
“It was like the prom and we were the last two ones standing by the wall,” Nelson joked. “Well, you want to do this thing or not?”
Dalembert signed the deal July 19, well after the big names had come off the board in free agency. After an inconsistent first half of the season that included oversleeping for a couple of practices, Dalembert has been solid since the All-Star break and especially effective during the eight-game homestand that ends Tuesday night against the Golden State Warriors.
“He’s been more consistent as of late and you can tell we’re a different team,” Nelson said. “When he brings his A game, we’re a different team.”