Mavericks: Texas Legends
Sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com that the Mavericks will next sign guard Justin Dentmon from their own D-League affiliate to a 10-day deal, most likely finalizing a contract with the Texas Legends' leading scorer Monday.
The team on Friday notified Chris Wright -- who now ranks as the only player in NBA history known to have multiple sclerosis -- that he would not be receiving a second 10-day deal. In the wake of Beaubois' injury, Dallas has decided to use its 15th roster spot to get to know various young players for potential down-the-road signings.
That means, sources say, Dallas is likely to bring in another player on a 10-day basis after Dentmon's trial. Dentmon is averaging 26.0 points through 22 games with the Legends and was the D-League's MVP last season while playing for the San Antonio Spurs' affiliate in Austin, earning callups from both the Spurs and Toronto Raptors.
West, waived by the Mavericks in late October after a rocky training camp, committed to join the Legends in late January but didn't actually report to the team -- coached by former Mavs forward Eduardo Najera -- until this month.
The New York Knicks, according to league sources, are among the teams that will be monitoring West, who instantly becomes the most accomplished point guard in the NBA's developmental league and will be trying to earn a 10-day callup as quickly as possible.
The Legends play Saturday night at 7 p.m. against the Santa Cruz Warriors (Golden State's D-League affiliate) and Sunday at 3 p.m. against the Maine Red Claws (Boston's affiliate) at the Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco. Ticket information is available at 214-469-0822.
Who knows where it goes from here?
West, the colorful journeyman guard who has been out of basketball since his detrimental conduct caused the Mavericks to release him just before the season opened, has left the D-League’s Texas Legends in limbo. The Legends claimed West on Jan. 25 after he put his name in the D-League player pool, but he has yet to report to Frisco.
A source said it’s up to West whether he will play for the Legends, who are still open to having him on the team and continue to list him on the roster on the team’s website. West has complicated the process by parting ways with agent Dan Fegan.
West, 29, a valuable role player during his lone campaign in Dallas last season, had hoped to earn another chance with the Mavs via his performance and behavior with their D-League affiliate. However, Mavs owner Mark Cuban publicly declared that wasn’t a possibility hours after the Legends acquired West’s rights.
West, who has also played for the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers and Seattle Supersonics during his eight-year career, has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. While he’s been a productive player, his career has been pockmarked by off-court issues.
The odds of West returning to the NBA without a stint in the D-League or overseas are extremely slim.
It will be the first-round pick's second stint in the D-League. Cunningham averaged 18.1 points, 3.0 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 37.0 minutes in seven games with the Legends earlier this season.
Cunningham has played sparingly for the Mavs, averaging 2.0 points in 3.3 minutes in eight games. His assignment to the D-League means the Oregon State product and Oakland, Calif., native won't make a homecoming trip when the Mavs play the Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors this week.
Legends coach Eduardo Najera will have to split point guard minutes between Cunningham and Delonte West, who joined the team this week.
|Rick Carlisle joins Galloway & Company to talk about the Mavericks' four-day break and Delonte West signing with the Texas Legends. |
Cuban apparently isn’t willing to risk experimenting with the chemistry that it took the Mavs almost half a season to establish.
The Mavs waived West, a quality role player during his lone season in Dallas, just before the season opener after suspending him twice for conduct detrimental to the team in October. There was concern about West -- who wasn’t pleased to have signed a one-year, minimum-salary contract for the second consecutive season -- negatively influencing younger players on the Mavs’ roster.
“It’s not worth talking about at this point in time,” Cuban said. “It is what it is.”
The Mavs are comfortable with their backup point guard situation. Mike James, the 37-year-old whom the Mavs signed after his two-game stint with the Legends, is manning the position as he nears the end of his second 10-day contract. At this point, the Mavs’ plan is to sign James for the rest of the season when his deal expires Sunday night.
“So far, so good,” Cuban said. “No reason to think otherwise at this point.”
|Rick Carlisle joins Galloway & Company to talk about the Mavericks' four-day break and Delonte West signing with the Texas Legends. |
The Texas Legends announced the acquisition of the colorful former Mavericks guard Friday. West made himself eligible for the D-League player pool this week, and Donnie Nelson’s Legends were at the front of the waiver line. West is expected to join the Legends within a few days.
The Mavs released West just before this season opened after twice suspending him during training camp for conduct detrimental to the team. The 29-year-old West was a valuable role player during his lone season in Dallas, averaging 9.6 points and 3.2 assists while playing tenacious defense at both guard spots.
Jerome Miron/US PresswireDelonte West is joining the D-League's Legends, but don't count on a reunion with the Mavs.
However, that isn’t likely to happen with the Mavs, who dismissed West in large part due to concerns about the influence he could have on the team’s younger players. All indications are the Mavs intend to keep Mike James for the rest of the season after his second 10-day contract expires. The Mavs signed the 37-year-old point guard after his two-game stint with the Frisco-based Legends.
UPDATE: Mark Cuban ruled out West returning to the Mavs. "Not gonna happen," Cuban said Friday night.
|Delonte West might be hooping in DFW again, but not for the Mavericks. Ben and Skin break down the latest possibility of West playing for the Texas Legends. |
But if the Grizzlies pass, West would be eligible to join the team at the front of the D-League waiver line, which sources say is the Donnie Nelson-owned Texas Legends, Frisco-based affiliate of the Mavericks.
Sources say that West hopes to play his way back into the league just like Mike James did earlier this month, earning a call-up from the Mavericks after a brief but successful stint in Frisco. James is nearing the end of his second 10-day contract with the Mavs and, according sources, is a strong possibility to be signed for the rest of the season next week.
A source close to West told Jeff "Skin" Wade of the Ben and Skin Show on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM that the guard prefers a potential situation with the Legends to the Grizzlies scenario in hopes that a good showing with the D-League team could put him back into favor with the Mavs, who released him before the regular season began.
The Legends, according to sources, made arrangements earlier Wednesday to bring back former NBA lottery pick Rashad McCants, who played for Texas in the club's debut season in 2010-11. Because the Legends still held McCants' D-League rights, they don't have to wait out the waiver process to sign him.
McCants, 28, last played in the NBA with Sacramento in 2009 and is trying to play his way back into the league. ESPN.com reported in November that the Indiana Pacers expressed interested in McCants, but the high-scoring swingman signed in China when no NBA deal materialized. He averaged nearly 20 points per game this season for Foshan before the Chinese club elected to let him go.
Cunningham will join the Legends for Saturday's game against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers at 7 p.m. at the Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco.
Douglas-Roberts added six rebounds and went 13-13 at the free-throw line. Chris Roberts (26 points), Darius Rice (12), Sean Singletary (11), Christian Eyenga (10) and Fred House (10) also hit double-digits for the Legends. Tre Kelley led the Toros with 25 points.
The Legends trailed by 17 going into halftime, but rode a 30-8 fourth-quarter advantage to the win. Chris Douglas-Roberts led the Legends with 24 points and had six rebounds. Sean Singletary tallied 19 points and six assists, and Christian Eyenga and Chris Roberts added 13 points apiece. Vernon Lewis sparked the team with four steals and six rebounds in 18 minutes of play.
Justin Dentmon led the Toros with 21 points.
The Mavs waived Ely and Douglas-Roberts on Sunday morning, before they even practiced with the team.
It's a good bet that they'll end up on the roster of the Texas Legends, the Mavs' D-League affiliate. The Legends now own the rights of both players.
That trims their roster to 16 players, one more than the limit by Monday's deadline. The Mavs are likely to part ways with West permanently by then, making room for center Eddy Curry to stick around after his solid audition in Friday's preseason finale.
The Rockets let Williams go Monday, sources said, because his contract for the 2012-13 season -- valued at just over $900,000 -- was scheduled to become guaranteed on Aug. 30. The 6-foot-10, 235-pounder from Arlington is now scheduled to clear waivers Wednesday night.
Houston acquired Williams' rights in late July as part of a sign-and-trade that the Rockets completed with the Boston Celtics to land Courtney Lee in Boston. Williams finished last season with the Celtics after the Mavericks released him March 22.
Williams' D-League rights are still held by the Texas Legends, but it's not inconceivable that he could land another NBA job before training camps open in late September. The Miami Heat, sources said, have expressed interest in Williams in the past and are known to be in the market for big men, having auditioned former Denver Nuggets center Chris Andersen and ex-New York Knicks power forward Josh Harrellson in recent weeks.
Williams played in eight games with the Mavs last season, averaging 3.6 points and 1.6 rebounds in just over eight minutes per game. In three games with the Celtics, Williams AVERAGED 3.7 points and four rebounds. He appeared in just two playoff games with the Celtics.
With the Legends, though, Williams has been one of the D-League's top defensive players for much of the past two seasons. He averaged 15.2 points and 8.9 rebounds in 27 games (25 starts) for the Frisco-based franchise last season and 14.4 points and 9.4 rebounds in 49 games (46 starts) 2010-11.
The curious case of Kelenna Azubuike as a member of the Dallas Mavericks started March 22 when the club released athletic big man Sean Williams, who had spent most of the season with the D-League Texas Legends.
A week earlier, the San Antonio Spurs had traded for Stephen Jackson and were closing in on signing Boris Diaw to bolster their roster for a deep playoff run. What were the defending champion Mavericks up to in releasing Williams and opening a spot on the 15-man roster? Who was on their radar that could provide an immediate jolt one month from the true start of their title defense?
Last year, Dalllas signed veteran sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic and the move paid off handsomely. At this point in the season, they could use someone like him. Three-point shooting -- heck, shooting in general --- had taken a significant dip throughout the truncated schedule and the Mavs would need firepower down the stretch and into the playoffs.
Could 3-point specialist Jason Kapono, recently released by the Lakers, be on his way? Maybe the 6-foot-7 Andres Nocioni? Sure, he was down on his luck, but still he was a 37.3 percent 3-point shooter throughout his career.
Turns out Kapono wasn't coming and neither was Nociono.
Who'd the Mavs have up their sleeve?
Azubuike, an intriguing shooting guard, oh, about three seasons ago before a torn patellar tendon put his career on indefinite hold.
And the Countdown ticks down to No. 10 ...
Ht/Wt: 6-5, 215
Experience: 5 years
Age: 28 (Dec. 16, 1983)
2011-12 stats: Played total of 18 minutes in three games
Contract status: Team option for next season
2011-12 salary: $280,192
2012-13 salary: $992,680
Jerome Miron/US PresswireThe Mavs acquired Kelenna Azubuike on March 23, 2012, but he played just 18 minutes for Dallas last season.
His outlook: The Mavs believe they have the best head athletic trainer in the game today in Casey Smith and an elite orthopedic crew headed by team doc T.O. Souryal. Azubuike will be three years removed from the horrific knee injury that put his burgeoning career in jeopardy and one that remains terribly difficult to watch on YouTube. But here's the hope for Azubuike: A second surgery in March 2011 was performed to fix the first surgery that wasn't done properly. Azubuike confirmed that fact on Twitter in March 2011, saying: "The 1st surgery in '09 wasn’t done right. Gettin it done right this time!” The Mavs' medical and training staffs have a track record with patellar tendon injuries after Caron Butler's awful injury on Jan. 1, 2011, in Milwaukee, which happens to be where Azubuike also blew up his knee. There's no guarantee that the the former Kentucky Wildcat will ever regain his explosiveness, but watching Butler this season with the Los Angeles Clippers has to be encouraging that he can at least be a productive player. At less than $1 million next season, Azubuike is low-risk and if he turns out to be high-reward, the Mavs will have made a shrewd move at a time when many were scratching their heads at the timing of the signing.
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 Coming Tuesday
The Mavs recalled Williams from the D-League Texas Legends on Friday, when they learned that Haywood would miss at least five games with a sprained right knee.
The 6-foot-10, 235-pound Williams has bounced back and forth between the Mavs and Legends this month with Haywood in and out of the lineup. When Haywood was sidelined by a sprained left ankle and Brandan Wright was out with a concussion, Williams averaged 3.8 points, 1.8 rebound and 1.0 blocks in 11.3 minutes during four appearances.
Williams, a former Nets first-round pick who is averaging 14.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 blocks for the Legends this season, will provide depth at center behind Ian Mahinmi and Wright while Haywood recovers from his sprained knee.
The Mavs decided they needed Williams because Brandan Wright, who has earned a large share of the center minutes behind Brendan Haywood, is out indefinitely. Wright suffered a concussion in Friday’s loss to the Hornets.
The 6-foot-10, 235-pound Williams, the Nets’ 2007 first-round pick, has spent the majority of the season with the Legends. He has averaged 15.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 22 D-League games this season.
Williams played only three games with the Mavericks before being assigned to the D-League. One of those appearances was a pretty memorable garbage-time stint in the Dec. 26 loss to the Nuggets, when Williams had 12 points, five fouls, three rebounds, three turnovers, a steal and a block in 11 all-out minutes, losing his pregame snack near the Mavs’ bench when he exited the game.
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