Exclusive: Mavs Narrow Search To 2 Buyout C's
The Dallas Mavericks gont one of their pre-deadline wishes granted when Deron Williams didn't move from New Jersey.
Now it's time to satisfy a post-deadline wish or two.
This is the season of buyouts of veteran NBA players, guys who are deemed of too little value to their existing teams and who therefore hope to get bought out and then to sign with new teams by March 23 (to make them eligible for the 2012 Playoffs.)
Sources tell DallasBasketball.com that the Mavs have narrowed their shopping list while awaiting news of who will be let go from their existing clubs.
Andres Nocioni? Not a priority, as much as coach Rick Carlisle reportedly likes his game. Jason Kapono? Again, a shooter is not top-of-list.
The Mavs want to add a big, and it does seem like a few of them are about to hit the open market.
Jermaine O'Neal is in a state of flux in Boston, where his wrist injury makes it difficult to know if he'll play again this year. Greg Oden, dumped by Portland, can barely transport himself to the hospital for his next surgery, let alone ready himself to help a team in the playoffs.
What we've been told is that in addition to hoping that New Orleans gives a buyout to primo Dallas target Chris Kaman, Denver buyout possibility center Ronny Turiaf is also on the Mavs short list.
There are other big bodies who might come free, including ex-Dallas center D.J. Mbenga, Portland leaper Chris Johnson, 6-9 Brian Cook and 7-1 Nugget Kyrylo Fesenko.
But those guys don't provide the proven boost of Kaman ... or even the craft and muscle of Turiaf.
Kaman needs no further introduction in this space. Dirk's German buddy would provide offense off the bench and would serve as a finisher at center, too, taking the place of Haywood in that regard and pushing Mavs prospect bigs Mahinmi and Wright down the bench.
But it's not yet clear what New Orleans' plans are for him. The NO paper writes, "Kaman knows he'll likely be with the franchise for the remainder of the season.'' But that's not defintely the understanding of the Mavs and other teams.
That uncertaintly is part of what makes Turiaf "probable'' to be explored by the Mavs.
It is the opinion of the Mavs personnel department that Turiaf would also immediately earn some backup center time. He's played in only four games this year due to a broken hand and was a throw-in in the Nene trade, going from Washington to Denver, which doesn't want him.
Turiaf is undersized and isn't a scorer, but he's a fine passer, a bullish defender and a tough guy. Like Kaman, Turiaf -- who hails from France -- is also a positive locker-room presence, an issue important in a Dallas room that's already a little sensitive with Odom and Jet having their issues.
There is one more issue at play here, and that is allowing a bit of elbow room, a bit of tryout room, for Mahinmi, Wright, Sean Williams (just called up from Frisco) and yes, even veteran Dan Gadzuric, too; there's a reason he's been stashed with the Legends:
"With Haywood out, there's a chance to see how these young guys do,'' a source tells us. "That factors into this, too.''
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