Mavs Preparing 3-Pronged Lure Of Greg Oden

The Mavs are trying to make a match with free-agent center Greg Oden, with the promise of a long-term veteran's-minimum contract, the top-notch reputation of the Dallas medical staff and a real chance at playing time this season as the top three lures. The details on the chase:



The Dallas Mavericks are trying to make a match with free-agent center Greg Oden and have three selling points to make in their recruiting competition for him.

1) The promise of a multi-year contract. According to our calculations, most of the potential bidders (including the Spurs and Heat) don't have any more cap space than Dallas possesses. So there are few places where Oden will be "money-whipped.''

We'll continue examine clever ways to structure a contract, but a four-year, long-term deal starting in that vet's-minimum range of $1 million-plus -- fully guaranteed -- is a foundation of it.

How that would work: Year One (as a five-year contracted vet), $1,027,424. Year Two, approximately $1.146 mil. Year Three, approximately $1.271 mil. Year Four, approximately $1.404 mil.

Of course, maybe Oden is so impressive that he merits more than that. In fact, maybe the Mavs are waiting to give Dalembert $2.6 mil worth of their cap room until they gauge Oden's merit.

2) The excellence of the Mavs' medical team. Dallas' staff continues to use its successful work with Tyson Chandler on its resume, and the faith owner Mark Cuban has in it was pivotal in the decision to pass on bidding for Andrew Bynum. Trainer Casey Smith and company will be in play again here as they explore the reality of Oden's desire to play not "eventually,'' as was once thought, but rather to return to the court this season.

Oden, the 2007 No. 1 overall pick, is just 25 but has experienced so many leg injuries that he hasn't played in an NBA game since December of 2009. He's been limited to 82 total games over two seasons. When healthy he's averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.

3) The real chance at playing time. Despite the public perception he's nowhere near ready to play, the Mavs are getting indications he wants to be a part of the rotation soon -- and the Mavs need so much help at center that they can promise him such a role. Sacramento could offer a backup role to Cousins. Most of the other bidders have more obstacles in front of Oden than Dallas does. When the Mavs lock down their meeting with him (possibly this week), they offer him a place to make guaranteed money, a place to get the best medical care, and an opportunity to start.




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