Jason Terry surprised at Mavericks

Updated: July 10, 2012, 10:29 AM ET
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com

Doc Rivers was the first to call Jason Terry the moment the NBA's free agency period opened and told the veteran guard that he was the Boston Celtics' No. 1 target.

When the Celtics made a three-year, $15 million offer and the Dallas Mavericks, the team Terry played for for eight seasons and won a championship with in 2011, didn't match, the shooting guard affectionately known as "The Jet" said he was ready to take off for Boston.

"Boston was the first to call me and Doc Rivers got on the phone and said, 'We need you, you're our No. 1 priority,' " he told RF Sports Report, which followed Terry and his daughter's AAU basketball team at a recent tournament in Orlando, Fla. "Had I got that same phone call from Dallas, I'd still be a Dallas Maverick.

"But I didn't, so I'm on to bigger and better things and hopefully with that team, with the way they are structured right now we have another chance to win the championship."

Fourth on the NBA's all-time 3-pointers made list, Terry replaces the all-time leader from beyond the arc, Ray Allen, who spurned the Celtics' heftier offer to join the champion Miami Heat.

Terry, who will turn 35 in September, said he didn't receive the level of interest he apparently believed he would. The 13-year veteran said three teams, one believed to be the Memphis Grizzlies, showed interest.

"Not many offers out there; I don't know why," Terry said. "We had about three teams that were looking at me. Dallas didn't come to the table."

The Mavs' free-agent focus centered on three-time All-Star point guard Deron Williams. Had Williams agreed to sign with the Mavs, there would be little cap space to bring back Terry. But when Williams chose to re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets, the Mavs still opted not to match Boston's offer to Terry.

One of the all-time fan favorites in Mavs history and a constant presence in the community, Terry said he was surprised that Dallas never made a play for him after all he and the franchise had been through.

"Yeah, very surprised, very surprised," Terry said. "What I was able to do for the organization and in the community, I thought they would bring me back and they didn't. So it's life -- something I'll teach to my girls, too."

Terry joined the Mavs in 2004 as the replacement for Steve Nash, another beloved Dallas player and Dirk Nowitzki's closest friend, after the point guard accepted a lucrative free-agent offer to return to the Phoenix Suns.

After a rocky beginning to their relationship, Terry and Nowitzki led Dallas two to NBA Finals appearances and to the franchise's first title over the Heat.

Since winning the championship, Terry has often expressed his desire to finish his career in Dallas and one day see his No. 31 raised to the rafters of the American Airlines Center. He said he'd still like his playing days to end that way.

"I was in Dallas eight years, played with some great teammates and had a great coach and a great owner," said Terry, who averaged 15.1 points last season and shot 37.8 percent from beyond the arc. "But what the city meant to me is priceless. Without them, I'm nothing. The Jet was born in Dallas, right there in Dallas. So, I always have a home in Dallas and hopefully when I'm done I can go back and end my career there."

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