Right now, it looks like the Mavericks will be lucky if they start next season with two centers. In order to create enough cap room to sign Monta Ellis, according to ESPN, on Friday the Mavericks were forced to waive second-year center Bernard James.
Last season, James only averaged 9.9 minutes in 46 games, however his statistics per 36 minutes indicated that James had potential to be a very productive young player. According to Basketball Reference, per 36 minutes, James averaged 10.3 points, 10.3 rebounds (4.1 offensive boards) and 3.0 blocks.
The Mavericks recently announced that they signed Samuel Dalembert,
Dallas Mavericks announce signing of Samuel Dalembert http://t.co/obEawadREq
— ESPNDallas (@ESPNDallas) July 20, 2013
and are reportedly in the mix for Greg Oden.
Big-man priority for Mavs at this point continues to be Greg Oden, with Dallas still in mix for Oden along with Heat, Spurs and Pelicans
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 20, 2013
Last season, with the Milwaukee Bucks, Dalembert averaged 6.7 points and 5.9 rebounds in 16.3 minutes and the last time Greg Oden played basketball was the 2009-10 season. By waiving James, the Mavs may start next season with a 32-year old center well past his “prime” and a center that probably doesn’t have knees anymore.
The Mavericks have said that they hope to re-sign James if he clears waivers; the problem is that it’s unlikely he will.
In 2011-12 for Florida State, James averaged 10.8 points, 8.1 total rebounds (3.1 offensive boards), 2.3 blocks and shot 60.6 percent from the field. At 6’10”, with a 7’3” wingspan, James is an incredibly talented athlete who is not afraid to play physically. While James would not have contributed much for the Mavs offensively, he was considered one of the best defensive players in the 2012 draft.
Although James is already 28 years old, his unique backstory may actually explain why he was more prepared to contribute than other players with as little playing experience as him. Prior to his two years at Florida State, James served six years in the Air Force. At 28 years of age, James is unlikely to develop much more offensively, but his value on the defensive side of the ball is undeniable.
Essentially, by waiving James, the Mavs have left themselves in a very tough frontcourt situation. Even if they can convince Greg Oden to sign with them, their two centers next season will be a veteran who, although not horrible defensively, will likely be unable to provide solid minutes for as long as they will need to rely on him, and a backup center who has only played in 82 total games since being drafted more than five seasons ago.
In other words, it’s a tough year to be a Mavericks fan.