Saturday night against the Milwaukee Bucks, Samuel Dalembert picked up a DNP-Coaches Decision.
The guy the Mavericks signed this off-season to be a rim protecting big man has already been bumped from the starting lineup back on Dec. 4 (after starting the team’s first 17 games) but now he is fading out of the rotation completely, reports the Dallas Morning News.
On this night, at least, Samuel Dalembert dropped to fourth-team center, behind starter DeJuan Blair, second-teamer Brandan Wright and late third-quarter sub Bernard James…
“He’s shown his moments,” said Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. “I just don’t think he’s been in a position where he’s been expected to perform to help a team win since his first or second years.”
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle was diplomatic as well.
“He’s been good with all that kind of stuff, and we need him,” Carlisle said. “He’s our guy with the most length who can impact the game defensively the best. We’ve got to have him ready to play.”
The Mavs signed Dalembert to a very reasonable contract — he makes $3.7 million this season and could make $3.9 million next season but there is a $1.8 million buyout. Dallas can essentially see if they can figure out how to use him this season and bring him around, if not they see how the market shakes out next year then they could buy him out or keep him. Either way.
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Blair has had a strong season for Dallas in the paint and pairs well with Dirk Nowitzki, but together neither brings the kind of rim protection Dallas needs (what they had with Tyson Chandler during their title run). Simply put, if Dalembert can no longer provide that Dallas will need to look elsewhere.