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Friday, March 23, 2012
Kelenna Azubuike to knock off rust in Frisco

By Jeff Caplan

The Mavericks officially assigned new acquisition Kelenna Azubuike to their D-League affialite, the Texas Legends.

The signing of the 6-foot-5 wing was certainly an interesting, off-the-radar move by the Mavs' front office, which waived Sean Williams on Thursday to make room.

Azubuike, 28, hasn't played since the 2009-10 season with Golden State. Just nine games in he suffered a gruesome injury, a torn patella tendon in his knee that derailed a budding career in which he averaged 14.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 74 games in 2008-09.

The Warriors traded him to the Knicks in July 2010, but he never played for them and was waived in February 2011. Azubuike left Kentucky after his junior season, went undrafted and played in the D-League before joining the Warriors for the 2006-07 season under former Mavs coach Don Nelson.

He played 15 minutes in the Warriors' first-round upset of Dallas that season.

The Mavs' medical staff has experience with petalla injuries after Caron Butler's injury last season, so they clearly feel as though Azubuike is on the comeback trail and that they can help him make a full recovery and jumpstart his NBA career.

He'll start off with the Legends. He's expected to be in uniform Saturday in Frisco when the Legends take on the Reno Big Horns.

The Mavs signed Azubuike, 28, for the remainder of this season with a team option for next. It obviously might be difficult for him to make an impact this season, but if he proves he still possesses that quickness and athleticism before the injury that made him an offensive threat and a solid defender, the Mavs might have found a fairly young addition.