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Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Help wanted?: Two roster spots now open

By Jeff Caplan

With the news that Tim Thomas has decided to continue to care for his ill wife and not play for the Dallas Mavericks this season despite signing a one-year deal last month, the Mavs are prepared to open training camp on Sept. 28 with two roster spots open.

It's a good bet that the Mavs will keep the flexibility and leave those spots open. The reality is the 6-foot-10 Thomas was a nice insurance policy, maybe a spot player here and there that could drain a 3-pointer, but he was never going to crack the top nine currently on the roster.

It is true that with no Thomas, the Mavs are down to one true power forward in Dirk Nowitzki. They'll rely on 7-foot-1 center Tyson Chandler and 6-foot-7 small forward Shawn Marion to man the 4 when Dirk's out.

Marion played some 4 last season when the Mavs rolled with a small lineup and the Mavs feel Chandler is versatile enough to get the job done.

The Mavs tried to bolster the power-forward position in free agency, but Udonis Haslem chose to take less money to stay with the Miami Heat (and why not?) and Al Harrington took more years and more playing time with the Denver Nuggets.