Samuel Dalembert has a knack for making good plays, even though he can be unreliable on and off the court. That’s why the Mavericks could sign him to a two-year deal that pays fewer than $4 million per season and isn’t even fully guaranteed for the second year, a huge bargain for a starting center.
If it’s any consolation to the Mavericks, Dalembert showed real remorse.
Dalembert, via Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com:
“I’m very disappointed in myself,” said Dalembert, who had two points, two blocks, three rebounds and three fouls in 18 minutes off the bench. “I don’t have an excuse. It shouldn’t happen. I’m still trying to get over it. I’m very upset.”
“Just saying it frustrates me. It pisses me off. I shouldn’t put myself in that situation.”
Dalembert has been playing with bruised ribs, but his injury had nothing to do with missing the shootaround. He appeared to be visibly upset while discussing the situation with the media.
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DeJuan Blair started in Dalembert’s place in a 110-96 loss to the Nuggets, and Bernard James entered the game before Dalembert, too.
When Rick Carlisle was asked whether Dalembert would return to the starting lineup Wednesday against the Golden State Warriors, the coach said, “We’ll see.”
If the Mavericks want to put themselves in the best position long-term, they should keep Dalembert out of the starting lineup for a while and hopes he learns a lesson. If the Mavericks want to win as much as possible in the short term, they should start Dalembert because he’s their best option at center. After all, that’s why he was starting until Monday.
Or they could try to convince themselves that a one-game benching was enough to make Dalembert realize the error of his ways. But after 11 years of Dalembert building his reputation, I don’t think a one-game benching is quite enough to do that.
Personally, I’d put him back in the starting lineup, live with his shortcomings, count the money I saved by looking past them and watch my team contend for a playoff berth.