Samuel Dalembert‘s contract with the Mavs is only guaranteed for $1.8MM of its full value of nearly $3.9MM for next season, but Dallas doesn’t intend to waive him and pocket the savings, GM Donnie Nelson tells Tim McMahon of ESPNDallas.com. Dalembert will “absolutely” return for 2014/15, Nelson says, though the exec admits that the team signed him because there were few other palatable options after Dwight Howard and others went elsewhere.
“It was like the prom and we were the last two ones standing by the wall,” Nelson joked. “Well, you want to do this thing or not?”
There’s plenty of time for the Mavs to change their minds about Dalembert, whose contract won’t become fully guaranteed until January 7th, 2015. For the time being, it appears Dallas is content to enter the summer with the 6’11” center on their books at full price. The Mavs still have plenty of flexibility, as Dalembert’s entire salary would push their commitments only slightly above $30MM. Still, that figure doesn’t count a new contract for Dirk Nowitzki, whose deal is up at season’s end.
The Mavericks had reportedly discussed the notion of trading for Dalembert for years before signing him, believing he’d be an effective complement to Nowitzki, so Nelson’s suggestion that the team signed Dalembert merely as a last resort conflicts with that. The 32-year-old Dalembert has played just 20.3 minutes per game this season for the Mavs, but owner Mark Cuban recently called him the “steal” of last year’s free agent class.