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The Dallas Mavericks have reached a verbal agreement with free-agent big man Samuel Dalembert to be their new starting center.
"It's not signed, signed, but it's agreed upon," Mavs owner Mark Cuban told the TrueHoop Network's Bryan Gutierrez at the Las Vegas Summer League. "He'll bring shot-blocking and rebounding to the team."
Sources told ESPN.com that Dalembert has agreed to sign with the Mavericks as they continue to work on the final points of a contract.
Dallas continues to pursue free-agent center Greg Oden, as do Miami, New Orleans, Sacramento and San Antonio. But Dalembert emerged as the Mavericks' top priority after they lost out to Houston in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes and decided to pass on Andrew Bynum, who signed with Cleveland.
The Mavericks have discussed the prospect of acquiring Dalembert via trade for years -- including talks with Milwaukee last season that could have sent starting center Chris Kaman to the Bucks -- because they've seen the defensive-minded 7-footer from Haiti as a good stylistic fit next to star forward Dirk Nowitzki.
Other teams can offer more, but sources say the Mavericks have met face to face with Oden twice in the past week and continue to try to sell him on the merits of making his comeback in Dallas, which includes the chance to work with highly rated athletic trainer Casey Smith.
Also on the big-man front: Bernard James left the Mavericks' summer league team in Las Vegas, sources said, after agreeing to move back the guarantee date in his contract for the 2013-14 season.
James' $788,872 salary for 2013-14 should have been guaranteed by Monday if he was not waived, but Mavericks officials convinced "Sarge" to move the date to later this summer to give them more time to see where they are in terms of roster spots after the pursuits of Dalembert and Oden.
It's also possible the Mavericks could waive James and then try to re-sign him depending how many spots they still have open after the forthcoming signings of Dalembert and guard Devin Harris along with the Oden chase.
Information from ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon was used in this report.