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Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Countdown: No. 4 Delonte West

By Jeff Caplan

Twelfth in a 15-part series ranking the Mavericks' 2011-12 roster in importance of bringing back next season.

Judging by the pictures Delonte West is tweeting from his home in Maryland of some delectable-looking feasts for his friends and family -- mostly recently a fresh batch of clams and then a pot full of crabs -- he might be the next contestant one of those food star-chef challenge reality TV shows.

Nah, West is all about hoops and the only regret he said he has about last season is that the finger he mutilated trying to make a steal in mid-February and sidelined him for six weeks prevented him from showing the Dallas fans how complete of a player he really is.

The question now is, was West one-and-done in Big D or is one of the game's -- not to mention one of Twitter's (@CharleeRedz13) -- more colorful personalities going to be back? There are plenty of arguments to be made that suggest West, one of the few productive Mavs this season whose age started with a 2 and not a 3, is an important piece to keep on the roster. One is his defensive chops -- although it wasn't so apparent in his brief playoff stint -- in a backcourt that otherwise lacks punch on that end of things.

The Countdown rolls on at No. 4 ...

DELONTE WEST
Pos.: PG/SG
Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-3, 180
Experience: 8 years
Age: 28 (July 26, 1983)
2011-12 stats: 9.6 ppg, 3.2 apg, 24.1 mpg, 44 G
Contract status: Unrestricted free agent
2011-12 salary: $854,389
2012-13 salary: TBD

Delonte West
Delonte West has been injury prone, but the Mavs liked what they saw when he was healthy.
His story: We know this much: After two seasons of playing on one-year, veteran-minimum contracts, West is hopeful that he's proven himself valuable enough on the court and trustworthy enough off it to earn a multi-year deal somewhere this summer. Much like with Jason Terry, the market price for West combined with Dallas' own success rate in free agency (i.e. Deron Williams) will greatly determine what the Mavs can do in terms of signing ancillary pieces. And say this for West: He instantly ingratiated himself to all the right people. Mark Cuban, Rick Carlisle, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd all fell in love with the kid, who came to Dallas after some hard times (an unfortunate 2009 arrest) and with much to prove because injuries have dogged him the past few seasons. He showed his value when he was healthy, subbing at point guard for an injured Kidd, starting at shooting guard and giving Dallas a tenacious two-way player, something of a combination of J.J. Barea and DeShawn Stevenson.

His outlook: One can argue that West should be back until their face turns blue, but if Williams indeed joins the Mavs, then West's return is not likely. If Williams signs elsewhere, West's odds of being back obviously go up. And if West gets a good offer quickly, he'll likely jump on it. That's just the nature of the business under tighter salary cap restrictions. While West was a solid contributor when on the floor, just staying on the floor has been a struggle. Various injuries have limited him to no more than 61 games in a season going back to 2007-08. Teams will certainly take that into consideration when it comes to longer-term deals, but there does seem to be agreement that West will find his multi-year deal. There's little doubt the Mavs would love to keep him for his versatility and tenacity. They just don't know if they will be able to.

No. 15 Lamar Odom
No. 14 Brian Cardinal
No. 13 Yi Jianlian
No. 12 Dominique Jones
No. 11 Brendan Haywood
No. 10 Kelenna Azubuike
No. 9 Ian Mahinmi
No. 8 Vince Carter
No. 7 Rodrigue Beaubois
No. 6 Brandan Wright
No. 5 Jason Terry
No. 4 Delonte West
No. 3 Coming Wednesday