Haywood says he wants to stay

DALLAS -- Center Brendan Haywood will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Dallas Mavericks can offer him the most money, but they'll have to determine their price depending on other suitors and offers, plus other alternatives that might become available.

The 7-foot Haywood had a tremendous start to his Mavericks career after the mid-February trade, but Erick Dampier reclaimed his starting spot late in the season and held onto it until Game 5 of the first-round series against the San Antonio Spurs.

Haywood said he would like to remain with the Mavs. He said he has spoken to his agent Andy Miller and will begin examining his options in the next couple of weeks. Dampier, with one non-guaranteed year left on his contract, might or might not be back.

"Yeah, I love everything about it," Haywood said. "I love the organization, the coaching staff, everything here is done first class. You can't argue with anything that they have here."

Earlier in the regular season when Dampier got a start over Haywood, after the game Haywood was asked how he felt about it and said, now famously: "I just work here." That sent up red flags. Haywood's play has also wavered, in terms of his physical presence and attention to detail defensively. On Friday, Haywood said he would not expect to be named the starter wherever he signs.

"I don’t believe in that. That comes from working hard and preparing in the summertime," Haywood said. "I feel when you come into camp, your play should speak for who should be the starter."