Mavericks Worst Move #9: Signing Erick Dampier
Early on in Cuban’s ownership of the Mavericks, the team had a revolving door at center, but they hoped that Erick Dampier would be their long-term answer at the position. Dampier spent the first few seasons of his career with the Indiana Pacers and then the Golden State Warriors and was a capable starter before having an impressive contract season that earned him a payday with the Mavericks.
Dampier was signed to a 7-year, $73,000,000 deal and then traded to the Mavericks, where he spent a total of six seasons not doing much. He averaged just 6.5 points and a respectable 7.6 rebounds in 24.4 minutes per game over that span. Had he been paid more like the role player that he was, he would have been fine, but he was making around 20% of the salary cap during those six seasons in Dallas.
Hindsight is 20/20, but it seemed obvious that Dampier wasn’t worth the money when he was initially signed. Fortunately, for the Mavericks, the final year of his deal was non-guaranteed, allowing them to trade him to a team looking to cut salary. The Charlotte Bobcats were that team, and they agreed to trade Tyson Chandler in a deal for Dampier. Chandler would later help Dallas win a championship, so no harm, no foul, right? Not exactly, but we’ll get to that a little bit later.