DALLAS — The Eddy Curry experience in Dallas didn’t last long. Eight less-than exhilarating days to be exact. The Mavericks now optimistically turn to Chris Kaman time.
The Mavericks will waive the 7-foot Curry on Friday to make room on the 15-man roster for another recent basketball vagabond, power forward Troy Murphy, (neither transaction is official yet, but coach Rick Carlisle and players talked about the moves after Friday’s practice), an indication of just how badly the Mavs need scoring and rebounding at the position with Dirk Nowitzki out at least another week and possibly as many as four following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
It’s been musical chairs in Dallas with erratic combo guard Delonte West being the first out the door, waived on Monday after twice being suspended for behavioral issues. He remains without a job.
The question in front of Curry is if another team will toss him a life-preserver and try yet again to rescue his overwhelmingly disappointing career. The Spurs released the 2001 fourth overall draft pick before the Mavs provided him a short-lived shot. Curry played 25 minutes in the Mavs’ first two regular-season games. He was decent on the offensive end; awful on the defensive end.
Dallas now turns optimistically to Kaman. He’s hopeful of playing in the home opener Saturday night against the Charlotte Bobcats. The oft-injured Kaman missed the last four preseason games and the first two real games this week nursing a strained right calf.
“That’s my goal,” Kaman said after Friday’s practice. “I can’t guarantee it at this point, I’ve got to see how I feel. I’m off the medication now. Hopefully everything feels good and the swelling stays down.”
The Mavs are counting on Kaman for critical low-post scoring and rebounding on an ultra-thin front line. And Kaman, 30, is counting on a big season as he seeks perhaps a last shot at a lucrative, multi-year contract when he again becomes a free agent next summer.
Behind Nowitzki, it’s hardly a stretch to deem Kaman as Dallas’ most crucial player to extend its playoff streak to 13 consecutive seasons. Undersized Elton Brand and lanky Brandan Wright compose the center depth. Through two games, the Mavs have been outrebounded 107-80 and doubled-up on the offensive glass.
So, it’s imperative that Kaman stay on the floor, and that’s not been easy throughout his career — including in his first month in Dallas. He wrenched his back during the team’s first practice in late September and then sustained a calf injury that is more than two weeks old.
Kaman said he thinks he’s ready to go, but that he’s also not willing to risk a setback if he doesn’t feel quite right. He knows how fragile things can be. He was in talks with the Indiana Pacers before they ultimately decided to match Portland’s max offer to young center Roy Hibbert. It left Kaman with one-year offers from the Trail Blazers and Mavs.
The Bobcats bring in two former underwhelming Mavs centers DeSagana Diop and Brendan Haywood. Dallas hopes to have its newest big man in the lineup.
“I’m hoping to play and I’m wanting to play, but at the same time if it’s not something I’m able to do, I’m not going to do it,” Kaman said. “I’m going to do what’s best for the team and also what’s best for myself long-term, because if I play now and set myself much farther back, that hurts the team and it also hurts me.”