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The Dallas Mavericks' ongoing search for a bargain big man has led them to invite the recently released Fab Melo to training camp, according to sources close to the situation.
Sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday that the Mavericks have struck a training camp deal with Melo, who was traded from Boston to Memphis after his rookie season with the Celtics and then waived by the Grizzlies in August, two weeks after they acquired him.
The Mavericks spent much of July chasing Greg Oden as a minimum-salary backup to new starting center Samuel Dalembert, but Oden opted to sign with the two-time champs from Miami instead. Yet the sudden availability of Melo gave Dallas an opportunity to roll the dice on the No. 22 overall pick from the 2012 draft, who wound up spending much of his rookie season in the D-League.
Melo averaged 9.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and a league-best 3.1 blocks in 26.2 minutes per game for the D-League's Maine Red Claws last season. The fact that the 7-footer from Brazil went unclaimed on waivers after Memphis let him go late last month, as a former first-round pick barely one year removed from the draft, nonetheless makes it clear that questions persist about Melo's on-court development and work ethic.
The Grizzlies took on Melo in an early August trade with Boston with no real intent to keep him. The payoff for Memphis was creating a trade exception by sending Donte Greene to the Celtics in the deal and receiving nearly $1.7 million in cash from Boston to cover Melo's $1.3 million salary in 2013-14.