Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson: Dallas will keep Samuel Dalembert

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Samuel Dalembert’s contract expires after next season. It includes a 2014-15 salary of $3,867,282, of which only $1.8 million is guaranteed.

In other words the Mavericks have two options for Dalembert:

  • Pay him $3,867,282 and have him on the roster
  • Pay him $1.8 million and not have him on the roster

Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, via Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News:

“He’s got a contract for next year,” Nelson said. “Absolutely we’ll have Sam back. Great guy. If we can get him to show up on time to practice, that’ll be a step in the right direction.”

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Dalembert’s full salary will cut into the Mavericks’ cap room this summer – and they should have a significant amount of space – but he’s also a bargain. Dallas’ starting center, Dalembert is averaging 6.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 20.3 minutes per game.

He’ll turn 33 before next season (maybe even this season if the Mavericks extend their playoff run to May 10), and as Nelson alluded, Dalembert has issues managing his time. But that’s why Dallas got him so cheaply.

The Mavericks are 9-1 in the 10 games Dalembert has played most. They need to figure out how to get more Dalembert, not less – and that’s why they’re keeping him.

Then again, if Dalembert’s salary becomes the difference between adding an impact free agent and not, the plan could change. There’s a reason his contract isn’t fully guaranteed.