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The Dallas Mavericks were forced to waive second-year center Bernard James on Friday, a move they were hoping to avoid, according to sources with knowledge of the decision.
Earlier in the week, Dallas convinced James to move the July 15 guarantee date in his contract to a later date in the summer, which team officials hoped would buy them the extra time needed to sort out the roster and still have room for his 2013-14 salary of $788,872. The Mavericks, though, reluctantly waived James on Friday when they needed to remove his salary-cap hold from their payroll to formally complete the signing of guard Monta Ellis.
The Mavericks' big-man priority, sources said, continues to be Greg Oden. After this week's signing of Samuel Dalembert, Dallas remains in the hunt for Oden along with the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Pelicans.
The Mavericks also hope to re-sign James later this offseason if he clears waivers. But there is a strong chance James will be claimed by another team, given his solid rookie season as an athletic and developing big man who also carries such a reasonable cap number. Per the collective bargaining agreement, with James being a minimum salary player, any team has the ability to claim him.
If no team has claimed him before the end of the 48-hour waiver period, James' contract would be terminated and he would become a free agent.
The 6-foot-10 center was the 33rd overall pick out of Florida State and a former staff sergeant in the Air Force with three tours of duty overseas. James, 28, started 11 games for the Mavericks last season and averaged 2.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 0.8 blocks. His per-36 production as a rookie -- 10.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.0 blocks per game -- suggests his game has potential.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said he had hoped James would "dominate" in the Las Vegas Summer League. But James ended up playing just one game there, collecting two points, nine rebounds and three blocks in the team's opener before being waived.