Posted by Art Garcia
Roger Mason Jr., one of the free agent steals of two summers ago, could be closing in on a new deal by the end of the week, league sources told NBA.com. Mason spent the last two seasons in San Antonio.
“We’re going through it day by day,” Mason’s agent Mark Bartelstein said Tuesday. “We have to go through the process. There’s a domino factor to all of this.”
Bartelstein added that a number of teams are interested in the shooting guard who enjoyed a career season in 2008-09 before Mason struggled with his shot last season and fell out of Gregg Popovich‘s rotation. Portland, Miami, Chicago and New York are among those who have contacted the six-year veteran. The Spurs have not.
The “domino factor” Bartelstein referred gets back to those top-tier free agents — LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, etc. Once they decide where they’re going, roster and salary slots open up. With the Heat, Bulls and Knicks, especially, Mason is could be seen as cost-effective proven vet to complement a few new high-dollar teammates.
Mason is looking for a chance to contribute again. He played a major role with the Spurs in 2008-09, setting career highs for scoring (11.8), minutes (30.4), 3-point field-goal percentage (42.1) and starts (71). Mason took a step back last season, mainly due to injuries and inconsistency plus the return of Manu Ginobili.
“It started with me in the playoffs last year,” Mason said shortly after this past season ended. “That was the first time I had gotten benched by Pop. It’s kinda lasted a while.
“It hasn’t been ideal, but I think I’ve continued to improve as a player, which is weird because most times if you numbers look the way mine do from one year to the next, you think that you’re a worse player. But I actually feel like I’m a better player.”
Mason feels he can be the long-range threat he was that first year in San Antonio again, and a more complete player. He shot just 33.3 percent from beyond the arc last season and averaged 6.3 points.
Still, the Spurs two-year investment of $7.3 million appears to have paid off after Mason out-played his deal the first year. Mason, 29, is looking for another multi-year deal.
On the eve of free agency last week, Mason tweeted (MoneyMase) the following:
“How quickly people forget that I was considered the steal of free agency last year. A talented team, and injuries, got in the way this year.”