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Tuesday, July 9, 2013
If not Andrew Bynum, who starts at center for Mavs?

By Tim MacMahon

How do the Mavericks address their glaring hole at center if they don’t sign Andrew Bynum?

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ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.

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At the moment, there is one big man on the Mavs’ roster. That’s Bernard James, who played less than 20 minutes in the final month of his rookie season.

It’s not like there are a lot of options available in free agency, either. In fact, there aren’t any starting centers left other than restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic, and Minnesota will likely match any offer he receives.

Some other options: Samuel Dalembert, Chris Andersen, Byron Mullens, Jermaine O'Neal, Elton Brand and Brandan Wright.

The Mavs might end up with one or two of those other options, but they aren’t targeting them as starters. They’ve been in touch with O’Neal and Brand, but those former All-Stars are low-cost backup bangers at this point of their careers. They have Wright’s Early Bird rights and would like to keep him, but they see him as a 20-minute-per-game spark, not a starter.

Can Dalembert be a stopgap starter at 32 years old? Perhaps. His per-36-minute numbers for Milwaukee last season were pretty solid (14.7 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks), but he averaged only 16.3 minutes and appeared in only 47 games.

Houston’s Omer Asik and Phoenix’s Marcin Gortat could be available in the trade market. What assets do the Mavs have that would tempt their current teams?

Maybe Houston would be interested in Shawn Marion, who could provide the Rockets some veteran savvy and perimeter defense currently missing from their roster. Of course, then there’s a huge hole at small forward. Perhaps the Mavs could orchestrate a multi-team deal to get Asik or Gortat.

Or maybe the Mavs head into the season with a three-headed monster featuring, oh, say, O’Neal, Wright and James.

Yep, Bynum has some leverage, bad knees and all.