The free agency period is pretty much over. Scratch that. The free agency period is almost over. The Dallas Mavericks announced on Tuesday the signings of Fab Melo, D.J. Kennedy and Richard McConnell to expand the current roster to 18 players. ESPN.com’s Marc Stein was the first to report in the Mavs’ interest in Melo, the 22nd pick in the 2012 NBA draft.
With 15 players under contract but 18 on the roster, it’s important to remember that they can take up to 20 to camp. They don’t have to get down to 15 until just before the season starts. Most teams like to take 15-20 players into camp to allow veteran players a little easier of a path through the rigors of camp. An added sense of competition for the end of the roster players isn’t a bad thing, either.
There may be a few more names that pop up in the next few weeks, but the next big date is Sept. 30 (media day). That means the machine is getting ready to roll again for another new season. While there is still a little time left, I wanted to take a unique look at free agency. There are nine names on the list of remaining free agents that have direct ties to the Mavs. It’s interesting to see how they joined the Mavs and what has happened to them since they left the team.
Rodrigue Beaubois: That’s already been covered in some detail this week on the Two Man Game.
Marquis Daniels: There wasn’t a baseline Daniels didn’t love when he was with the Mavs. To put it another way, there were so many baseline cuts he made during his three years in Dallas. Alongside Josh Howard, Daniels represented an infusion of youth that could have potentially changed the course of the organization.
For a multitude of reasons, things didn’t work out for Daniels in Dallas. In 2006, Dallas traded him to Indiana for Austin Croshere. That trade led to the Mavs and the rest of the NBA being treated to the Cro-Show as he scored a career-high 34 points in a 122-102 win against the Seattle Supersonics. Back to Daniels, he ultimately turned an undrafted, one-year deal with Dallas for the league minimum into a 10-year career. That’s pretty incredible when you sit back and think about it.
DeSagana Diop: After starting his NBA career in Cleveland, Diop signed a three-year deal with Dallas and quickly emerged as a defensive presence and a possible replacement for Erick Dampier. Then again, two skillets taped to an industrial-sized broom could be a possible replacement for Dampier. I refuse to believe anyone that says his performance in Game 7 of the 2006 playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs didn’t make his career and his bank account.
He was ultimately traded Diop to the then New Jersey Nets along with signed and traded Keith Van Horn, Devin Harris, Trenton Hassell, Maurice Ager, and roughly $3 million cash and 2008 and 2010 first round draft picks in exchange for Jason Kidd, Malik Allen and Antoine Wright. He later returned to Dallas and then was traded to Charlotte, an under the radar spot where Dallas disposes their players (mainly centers) that they no longer want.
Juwan Howard: Remember the Juwan Howard era? For those who don’t, Howard, Obinna Ekezie, and Calvin Booth were traded from the Washington Wizards to the Dallas Mavericks for Christian Laettner, Loy Vaught, Etan Thomas, Hubert Davis, Courtney Alexander and $3 million at the trade deadline in 2001. Howard was the starting power forward for the Mavs, allowing Donn Nelson to experiment with a young Dirk Nowitzki at the small forward position. The Mavericks traded him with Donnell Harvey, Hardaway and a 2002 first-round pick to the Denver Nuggets for Raef LaFrentz, Avery Johnson, Van Exel and Tariq Abdul-Wahad on Feb. 21, 2002.
He once again became a Mav in 2007 and played 50 games for the team. Howard has played for a total of eight teams and has become a back-to-back NBA champion as he joined the Miami Heat during the 2010-11 season. He holds career averages of 13.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. That’s not a bad career for one of the members of the University of Michigan’s Fab Five.
Mike James: Man, Mike James started the last 23 games of the season for Dallas in 2012-13. How crazy is that? He averaged 6.1 points, 3.1 assists, 1.6 rebounds, 0.6 assists and 1.2 turnovers while shooting 37.3 percent from the floor and 38.4 percent from 3-point range in 19.2 minutes per game.
James the journeyman, 38, said that he was hopeful to play at least two more seasons in the NBA and was hopeful that they would be with the Mavs. With the Mavs being set at the point guard position, it certainly doesn’t appear that he will be able to find a home in the Dallas rotation. He did show that he was ready to join a team in the middle of the season. If he keeps himself ready and a team gets desperate, he could find a new home. Plus, he’s not even halfway to playing for every team in the league (Dallas was his 11th stop).
Note: Marc Stein also reported on Tuesday that James will be joining the Chicago Bulls as a camp invitee.
Dahntay Jones: Alongside Darren Collison, Dahntay Jones came to Dallas in the summer of 2012 as the Mavs signed and then traded Ian Mahinmi to the Indiana Pacers. He was expected to be a “3-and-D” guy for the Mavs. He never really seemed to get a consistent role within the team’s rotation.
He was eventually traded at the deadline to Atlanta for Anthony Morrow. He will be remembered for his loyalty to the Mavs as he tweeted that he would not shave his .500 beard until the Mavs met their goal. That earned some goodwill from the fans in Dallas. Eventually, he shaved to show he was committed to his new team in Atlanta. At 32, Jones could certainly be a valued player at the end of some team’s bench.
Lamar Odom: Wow, where to begin with the Lamar Odom situation. Did he go to rehab recently for a drug problem, did he not go to rehab for a drug problem? Was he actually missing for three days? Why is TMZ working on the sports beat now? Why did he offer me red vines only once after a game? One thing is certain: he was arrested recently for a DUI.
Who knows if Odom will actually play in the NBA again, but it appears his days as one of the most versatile and uniquely-gifted forwards the league has seen have disappeared. The Mavs took a gamble on him after the lockout. There’s no shame in taking that risk. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose when you take a risk. The only thing they could really be faulted for is their long leash with him. The Mavs have learned from their mistake, but it remains to be seen if Odom has learned from his.
Jerry Stackhouse: Leading up to the 2004-05 season, Stackhouse—along with Christian Laettner and the Wizards’ first-round draft pick (Devin Harris)—was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Antawn Jamison. While in Dallas, he brought a tough-minded attitude that was needed within the organization. He certainly didn’t like Utah. He got in a skirmish with Kirk Snyder after a Dallas-Utah game in 2005. Stackhouse also said that the Jazz played “coward basketball” and that they played a fake physical game. Well then.
Do you remember that week in late November of 2012 when Stackhouse was still ballin’? He averaged 14.0 points on .609 shooting for the Brooklyn Nets the last week of November. What a throwback week that must have been for him.
DeShawn Stevenson: He might be known as a guy who had an ATM in his house, but many will remember DeShawn Stevenson for the verbal battles he’s had with LeBron James. For the Mavs, Stevenson held his own as a defensive stopper against James in the 2011 Finals. He celebrated heavily after the Mavs won the title and fashioned his own slogan on the back of the Mavs’ playoff shirt, playing off Shaquille O’Neal’s freestyle rap where he used the line, “Hey Kobe, tell me how my a** taste.”
Things got weird in early August as Stevenson tweeted that he wanted to go and play for the Miami Heat. At this point, he’s still waiting to hear back from LeBron and the Heat.
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He also attended Ball So Hard University. Bryan channels his inner-Clark Kent on a day-to-day basis. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.