President Donnie Nelson had an interesting comment during the introductory news conference for the new Mavericks, and it immediately perked up the ears of media members.
As he was describing some of the strategic advantages of having Shawn Marion on board, Nelson said: "It excites me to have our quarterback back and to have Shawn Marion on one wing and Josh Howard on the other. You got a runner like no other in Drew Gooden that can get up and down the court with the best of them. You got Dirk, who knows how to play the game a little bit. And then you got Erick Dampier coming off the bench and giving you that role that you need.''
What? Dampier off the bench? The same fellow who has started 702 of 866 career games, including all 80 that he played in last season?
Before you start going over the idea in your head, Nelson clarified his comment later. He was speaking more to the versatility the Mavericks have with Dampier, Gooden, Dirk and perhaps even Tim Thomas or Marion at the center spot against certain teams.
And his words had nothing to do with the minutes clause in Dampier's contract that, if reached, would guarantee the seventh year on his contract.
He hasn't hit that clause in five years, by the way.