The Erick Dampier free agency experiment really has defied easy explanation.
He was bought out by the Charlotte Bobcats back well before the season to save cash, that was a given. Then we expected he would latch on pretty quickly somewhere — he’s a serviceable backup big man who would play for near the minimum, and a lot of teams could use on of those. He met and flirted with teams throughout training camp, a veteran taking his time to avoid some two-a-days before picking a team and jumping in.
That team was Houston, according to his agent just as the season had started. Except that never happened. The official line is the Rockets had to cut a player from their roster to make room for Dampier but they couldn’t find a trade partner. But as much as the Rockets need depth at center, something else is going on here.
Now a few teams that could use a big man — Miami, Phoenix and Toronto — have reopened talks, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
Miami was reportedly where Dampier wanted to go before, but after some initial talks Pat Riley backed away saying the Heat could make do with the guys on the roster (Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Jamaal Maglorie). Kind of like the Rockets just did, which brings up the “why?” question.
However, that whole “go with the guys on the roster” thing hasn’t worked out so well, so Miami is back and talking to Dampier, who is a more complete package than any of their existing bigs not named Bosh. However, Miami would be in the same situation as Houston in needing to make a trade or buy out a guaranteed deal of someone to create a roster spot.
Both Phoenix and Toronto makes sense in that both have had subpar play out of the center position so far this season.