WEDNESDAY, 10:20am: The deal is official, as Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com tweets. It’ll run just the standard 10 days, since the Mavs have a game tonight and return from the All-Star break with a back-to-back on December 19th and 20th, fulfilling the three-game requirement.
TUESDAY, 8:09am: The Mavericks will sign Bernard James to a 10-day contract once he receives his FIBA letter of clearance to make the jump back from China, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com. James had been playing with the Yao Ming-owned Shanghai Sharks since shortly after the Mavs waived him at the end of the preseason, but the Sharks failed to make the Chinese Basketball Association playoffs, allowing the 30-year-old big man to become a free agent last week. The FIBA letter of clearance is a standard procedural step that players go through when they move between countries, and it’s unlikely that it serves as a stumbling block.
Stein and ESPN colleague Tim MacMahon reported this past weekend that Mavs GM Donnie Nelson and company would seek to add a big man on a 10-day contract while they waited for Jermaine O’Neal, for whom Dallas is by all accounts the front-runner, to ready himself to play. The Mavs have an open roster spot, as our roster counts show, though the team is prepared to clear a second spot to add Amar’e Stoudemire if he works a buyout with the Knicks, as Stein and MacMahon wrote.
James, who turned 30 this past weekend, played the previous two seasons with Dallas, which first acquired the rights to the former Air Force staff sergeant the same night that Cleveland drafted him 33rd overall in 2012. James averaged just 4.9 minutes per game across 30 appearances last season after he started 11 games as a rookie, but Dallas saw fit to re-sign him to a fully guaranteed contract for the minimum salary this past summer. That commitment bit the team in October, when non-guaranteed camp invitee Charlie Villanueva beat James out for a spot on the opening-night roster. James proceeded to put up 19.1 points and 11.2 rebounds in 30.0 minutes per game for Shanghai.
The 10-day contract that James signs with the Mavs might last longer than 10 days depending on when he signs it. All 10-day deals must cover at least three games, a rule that normally doesn’t come into play. However, with the expanded All-Star break this year, it would last 11 days if James signed either today or on Thursday.