LAS VEGAS – The Mavericks have gone from the enviable problem of not having enough minutes after initially making investments in four point guards to possibly opening training camp with only one proven player and a rookie as the lone backup.
Days after appearing ready to move into 2013-14 with free agent Jose Calderon as the projected starter and two other signees, Devin Harris and Gal Mekel, contesting for reserve minutes with first-round pick Shane Larkin, the Mavericks are down to Calderon and Mekel.
Coach Rick Carlisle said it is too soon to know whether Larkin will be ready for camp after fracturing his right ankle in a final practice before the summer-league opener here. But plans to sign Harris, once the Mavs’ point guard of the future before being traded to acquire Jason Kidd, were tabled after it was learned Harris would need surgery to repair a toe injury. Reports indicated the sides could try again for a reunion when Harris is closer to returning.
“Guys get hurt and they do get better,” Carlisle said. “It’s bad timing for Shane because this would have been a great experience for him, the Vegas summer league. But we’ve got 2 ½ months to get him better and that’s going to be our focus. He had three or four days of practice before he got the injury, so he’s gotten a little taste of it and he’ll be fine because he’s a great athlete.”
The Mavericks also agreed to terms with Monta Ellis and could play him at the point.
Mekel was signed to a three-year deal after spending the last five seasons in Italy and his native Israel, which followed two seasons at Wichita State. The 25-year-old NBA rookie, very good running the pick-and-roll, may immediately step into a prominent role for a team in win-now mode.
“It’s part of the business,” Mekel said. “It’s really bad for Shane. It’s not a simple injury. But it’s part of the business and if I get an opportunity for that, I’ll be ready to step in and take it.”