Christie plans to sign with Mavs

DALLAS -- Free agent Doug Christie plans to sign a contract with the Dallas Mavericks, his agent said Thursday.

"For us, it's been exactly what we wanted," agent Bradley
Marshall told The Associated Press. He wouldn't disclose details of
the agreement, but said it was for more than one year.

Marshall said Christie, a guard, likes the Mavericks style of play and believes his defensive prowess makes him a good fit for the team.

"They have got a coach [Avery Johnson] who knows how to win and
make players better and the ownership is strong," Marshall said.
"It's a solid situation."

The Mavs scheduled a Friday morning news conference with team owner Mark Cuban and Johnson, but didn't say what would be discussed.

In an e-mail note, Cuban offered no details. He deferred to the
10:30 a.m. news conference at the American Airlines Center where
the Mavs play.

Telephone messages left for Donnie Nelson, the Mavs president of basketball operations, were not immediately returned.

Christie, expected to be a successor to Michael Finley, was waived by the Orlando Magic last week. The Mavs waived Finley on Monday.

Last year, Christie played 52 games and averaged 6 points per game. In his 13-year career with five teams, he has averaged 11.4 points per game.

Christie may look familiar to Mavs' fans from the time he wore a Sacramento Kings uniform during playoffs series in 2002, 2003 and

A strong defender who would fit well into Avery's scheme, Christie didn't necessarily command a lot of money because Orlando still owed him about $8 million.

So Christie could narrow his selections to front-running teams who may not have a lot of salary-cap wiggle room.

Because of salary cap constraints, the Mavs could offer no more than $5 million and were not likely to use all of it on one player.

While Marshall would not offer details of Christie's contract, he did say that his client turned down a one-year, $4-million deal and a 4-year, $20 million deal with other NBA teams.

"He was sought after by six or seven teams very strongly and
one other team very aggresssively," Marshall said.

"If that doesn't tell you that he is more interested in winning
and more interested in making his family comfortable with a nice
place to live, I don't know what more he can do to indicate that."

Christie was among a group of players released by 18 NBA teams who took advantage of a one-time chance to avoid luxury tax obligations.

Teams whose payrolls exceed $61.7 million for the upcoming season must pay a dollar-for-dollar tax on the overage.

But they had until Monday to cash in on an "amnesty" option that allowed them to avoid the luxury taxes by releasing players.

Players still received guaranteed money from their old team and whatever they could get from the new team.

The development is part of the six-year collective bargain agreement reached during the summer between the NBA and the players union.

Marshall said being released will work well for Christie.

"Nothing happened with respect to amnesty that we didn't urge
or encourage," Marshall said. "They were seeking to exercise that
option, too."

The Mavs were also in negotiations with free-agent center DeSagana Diop, who could be a backup behind Erick Dampier.

Messages were left with Diop's New Jersey-based agent Leon Rose, but he could not be reached for comment.