With Gana Diop heading out the door, it leaves a big question. A very big one. As we well know, Erick Dampier can not play 48 minutes every game. So, the question becomes: Do the Mavs just go small when Damp is hurt, in foul trouble or needs rest? If they go small, that puts Bass and Dirk on the floor playing a PF/C combo of which "undersized" doesn't begin to describe. So, unless the Mavs can cook up another trade, these are the free-agent big men out there that the Mavs could potentially sign. It's just pure speculation at this point, but in no particular order:
6-11 PF, 38 years old
He hasn't played yet this season, but played 72 games for the Bulls last season and averaged 6.1 points and 4.8 rebounds on 20 minutes per night. He could provide solid veteran leadership, but the Mavs seem to have enough of that these days.
Chances: Decent. If he wants to keep playing, the Mavs will likely explore adding yet another old timer to a team that just got a lot older already.
7-0 C, 32 years old
He's a former No. 1 overall pick, but that means nothing. The guy was about as washed up as they come in the 24 games he played last year for the Celtics. He's injury prone, and is known for attitude problems.
Chances: Low. The Mavs need a backup, not another bench warmer in a suit. Still, he's big, and not too old, which may be attractive.
6-10 F-C, 22 years old
The Spurs sent him to Houston this summer in the Luis Scola trade and the Rockets bought his contract out. He's been promising at points and is a big, strong player who is aggressive down low. Think Brandon Bass without the athleticism, jumper or defense.
Chances: Good. If it's one thing the Mavs need is a young guy who can be aggressive. He's a bit overweight and can't really defend well, but the Mavs can't be too picky right now.
6-10 C, 30 years old
He can jump, and he can block shots, but it kind of ends there. He has little offensive game, can't hit a free throw and has bounced around the NBA since 1998 for six different NBA teams. His latest NBA venture was in late December when the Nuggets signed him and played him in six games.
Chances: Low. Although he is athletic, his lack of skills will likely deter the Mavs.
6-11 F-C, 38 years old
Another ancient veteran who may still be able to play. He's tough as nails, but how much can he still contribute? He played 46 games for the Pistons last year and only averaged about 10 minutes per game.
Chances: Decent. His chances have to be as good as P.J. Brown. He's more of a center, and he would be a good leader. But, what kind of shape is he still in?
6-10 PF, 29 years old
Can The Birdman still fly? He was banned from the league until recently, and hasn't played an NBA game since the 2005-06 season. Supposedly, he kicked whatever stuff he tested positive for and worked out during his suspension. If he's in shape, he's a rare athlete who loves to dunk and block shots. He usually is trying to be everywhere at once, which doesn't always work.
Chances: That all depends on whether or not he's in shape. The Mavs have to take a look at him at least.
Everybody else: Lonny Baxter, Antonio Davis, Danny Fortson, Ervin Johnson, Alan Henderson, Slava Medvedenko, Lawrence Roberts, Wayne Simien, Michael Sweetney, Mo Taylor
-Scooter Hendon, Hoops Nerd