Mavs welcome David Lee
Wesley Matthews, Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki comment on the addition of David Lee.
DALLAS — With a veteran big man set to join the team after a small roster shakeup, the Dallas Mavericks believe they might have added the missing piece to a playoff puzzle.
Monday, the Mavericks (30-27) announced that they had officially waived fourth-year guard John Jenkins, making a space for 10-year veteran power forward David Lee on the roster. Lee averaged 7.1 points and 4.3 rebounds in 15.7 minutes per game during his 30 appearances for the Boston Celtics this season prior to finding himself out of the rotation, which led to his eventual buyout talks and release on Friday.
Lee, a two-time All-Star with career averages of 14.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists, reportedly signed a prorated deal for the Mavs’ $2.1 million cap-room exception. His addition brings another big body to the Dallas front line. And although Mavs coach Rick Carlisle admitted that it was hard to see the organization cut ties with the team’s leading scorer in the preseason, Lee’s presence in the locker room should immediately be felt.
“This is a tough situation,” Carlisle confessed following the Mavs’ 129-103 home win Sunday over Philadelphia. “You don’t want to let anybody go with a locker room like we have. My hope is that sometime in the future we can have [Jenkins] back here, because he played well when he was here. It’s just strictly a numbers game. There are some other considerations, but he’s been a great asset to our culture and our team. Lee is here and we expect to sign him (Monday). We’ll get him ready in the next couple of days.
“We think [Lee] can play both big positions, some four and and some backup five. I just think he’s a quality veteran player who has been in a situation in Boston where they were overstocked and decided to go with younger guys. And we believe he can help us.”
Lee, 32, entered the league as the 30th overall pick of the New York Knicks during the 2005 NBA Draft, impressing his counterparts quickly around the league for his skills around the basket. He then produced a career season for the Knicks during the ’09-10 campaign, playing in 81 games while averaging 20.2 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists an outing.
The former Florida standout then migrated to the Golden State Warriors in a sign-and-trade deal on July 9, 2010, in exchange for Kelenna Azubuike, Anthony Randolph and Ronny Turiaf prior to the ’10-11 season. With the Warriors, Lee emerged as one of the Western Conference’s premiere big men the following year while averaging 20.1 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists during the lockout-shortened ’11-12 schedule.
However, Lee eventually found himself out of the rotation as the Warriors sprinted to the NBA title last season, and he once again was on the move to Boston in exchange for forward Gerald Wallace and guard Chris Babb during a trade on July 27. And after Lee recorded a season-high 14 points in 15 minutes against the Mavericks in Dallas’ 106-102 win in Boston back on Nov. 18, his new team sees him fitting in immediately.
“Well, he’s a smart player,” 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said of his newest teammate. “He’s a veteran, and he knows how to play. He can score around the basket, he’s a good passer out of the post and on the drive, and he’s a good rebounder. Sometimes we have issues with our rebounding, so he should help us there. And I just think it’s another solid veteran that wants to win and knows how to play.”
“D-Lee is a proven player and a good veteran who is going to come in and do what we need him to do,” forward Chandler Parsons added. “I think he’s a two-time All-Star, so he’s had a great career. You know, he’s slowed down a little bit the last two years, but I think for our system he’ll be good. He’s just another experienced and vet guy that we can add to our roster to make this push at the end here.”
Lee is now expected to help a Dallas team that has struggled all season in the rebounding department.
The Mavericks rank 17th in the league while pulling down 43 rebounds per game. The Mavs also have a 48.3 rebounding percentage. All of which figures to see a spike now with Lee’s addition to the front line. And with Lee also bringing his championship experience, the Mavericks expect to have another player capable of assisting them during the stretch run of the season.
“David is a great rebounder, and he’s got a great understanding of the game,” sixth man Devin Harris said. “In pick-and-rolls, he understands when to pop and when to roll. I think he’ll fit in with what we do, and I think he’ll be a great addition.”
“Well, obviously, he’s a champion,” swingman Wesley Matthews added. “He rebounds, and he’s a great rebounder. He’s an inside presence, and he does everything. He knows the game. He’s a veteran, he can play the game, and hopefully he can add to this team.”
Note: The Mavericks will now play the second outing of their six-game homestand on Wednesday, hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder. Oklahoma City leads the season series 3-0. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.
Injury updates presented by Baylor Emergency Medical Centers:
There’s no injuries to report at this time.