DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks once again appear to be building a championship contender, following the same blueprint as their 2011 NBA title team.
Saturday, the Mavericks announced the free-agent signing of forward Rashard Lewis to help fortify their bench. Two days later, the Mavs added another sharpshooter from the outside, inking 13-year veteran Richard Jefferson.
The two additions will now attempt to add support around the Mavericks’ core as the team tries to make another title run next season, looking to once again jell a cast of veterans together in their pursuit of a championship.
Last season, Lewis averaged 4.5 points and 1.8 rebounds for the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat, suiting up in 60 games and making six starts. He upped those numbers to 5.3 points and 2.1 rebounds during the playoffs while being inserted into the Heat’s starting lineup.
Perhaps more importantly, Lewis — a member of the Heat’s 2013 championship squad — now brings big-game experience to Dallas, likely playing a similar role as former Mav Peja Stojakovic during the team’s title run in 2011.
The 6-foot-10 Lewis is a 16-year veteran and two-time All-Star, holding career averages of 14.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals in his 1,049 games during stints with Seattle, Orlando, Washington and Miami. Lewis (1,787) also ranks amongst the league’s all-time top 10 in three-pointers made, currently sitting eighth ahead of Stojakovic (1,760) and behind ex-Mav Vince Carter (1,809). He will now likely assume the role of backing up 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, giving the Mavericks a coveted stretch 4 in the second unit.
Meanwhile, Jefferson hopes to help alleviate the void left by Carter, who departs to Memphis in free agency.
As a proven offensive weapon, averaging 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists in his 934 career games, Jefferson has suited up with New Jersey, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Golden State and Utah. Like Lewis, Jefferson also comes to Dallas with plenty of playoff experience after appearing in the Finals twice alongside Carter and ex-Maverick Jason Kidd while with the Nets.
Playing in all 82 games while making 78 starts for Utah last season, the 34-year-old Jefferson proved that he has plenty left in the tank, averaging 10.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists on 45.0 percent shooting from the field and 40.9 percent from three-point range. Jefferson will now likely see time behind fellow summer signee Chandler Parsons, adding depth at the small forward position and scoring to the Dallas bench.