Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Updated: February 18, 11:34 AM ET
Injury has Mavs shopping for center
By Tim MacMahon
DALLAS -- With center Erick Dampier out for an extended period, a source said the Dallas Mavericks plan to pursue Zydrunas Ilgauskas if he receives a buyout from the Washington Wizards.
Dampier underwent successful surgery Wednesday morning to repair an open dislocation of his right middle finger suffered late in Tuesday's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"He'll be out for a while," coach Rick Carlisle said. "I'm just not sure exactly how long."
Dampier could miss up to a month. That leaves Brendan Haywood, who arrived over the weekend in a seven-player trade with the Wizards, as the only true center on the Mavericks' roster.
Sources told ESPN.com that the 7-foot-3, 260-pound Ilgauskas was traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers to Washington in a three-team deal Wednesday that sent Antawn Jamison to Cleveland. With Washington cutting costs, it's likely that Ilguaskas will be bought out of his $11.5 million expiring contract.
The Mavericks can only offer Ilgauskas a prorated portion of the veteran's minimum salary of about $1.3 million. Ilgauskas has spent his entire 12-year career with the Cavaliers, but he would have to wait 30 days to return to Cleveland.
The Mavericks would also be interested in re-signing Drew Gooden, whom they traded to Washington, if he negotiates a buyout. However, the odds of that happening decreased significantly when it looks like the Los Angeles Clippers acquired Gooden in Wednesday's three-team deal.
Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.