PLANO -– Only four days remain before Jason Terry will be landing on a completely different runway.
On Saturday, the moving trucks will be pulling away from Terry’s Frisco home in suburban Dallas and headed to Boston where Terry will add a new chapter to his NBA life. Indeed, it is an emotional time
for one of the most charismatic players to ever don a Dallas Mavericks uniform.
The effervescent Terry spent the past eight years playing for the Mavs. During that time, the 13-year veteran was the first point guard to lead Dallas to the NBA Finals (2006), and was one of the team’s super-subs when the Mavs finally crash through the seemingly impenetrable wall and captured their first NBA championship in 2011.
But wearing Celtic green was not Terry’s preferred choice of fashion. If he had his druthers he would rather have stayed in Dallas and finished his career with the Mavs.
The business side of the NBA, however, forced Terry out the door last month via free agency when the Mavs refused to make him a respectable offer. That’s the sad reality of the NBA that Terry knows he just has to live with.
“I thought I would be back with the Mavs, but at the end of the day they made a business decision and they had to do what they had to do for their organization and going forward,’’ Terry told the Star-Telegram on Monday as he welcomed 225 kids to his youth basketball camp at the Plano Sports Authority. “They said they wanted to play for the future, and obviously I wasn’t a part of that.’’
No longer being wanted by the Mavs is the part that’s hurtful for Terry. Especially when he maneuvers around town and sees or hears reminders of the good old days.
“I didn’t want this to be a long drawn-out thing, but it’s tough when you’re walking around town,’’ Terry said. “I’m still here, I’m still in the city and everybody that I run into contact with is like, ‘Jet, we’re going to miss you,’ and I tell them I’m going to miss you, too.
“The summer went by fast, free agency was quick, so this move (to Boston) is just happening fast. It hasn’t really sunk in, and I was on the phone with the moving company a few minutes ago.’’
Terry, 34, signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Celtics last month. But he wants to play six more years, and hasn’t ruled out a possible return to the Mavs.
“I’ll do three years in Boston and if they like it I’ll do three more,’’ Terry said. “If they don’t, maybe
I’ll come back to Dallas.
“I’m still leaving that option open.’’
During the entire 2011-’12 season, Terry also left open the option of possibly never leaving the Mavs. But in conversations with owner Mark Cuban and coach Rick Carlisle during the free agency period, reality finally sunk in.
“My last conversation with Mark Cuban was, ‘Give me three years for X amount of dollars and the Jet will stay on the runway and the U-haul trucks won’t leave,’ ‘’ Terry said. “He said, ‘Jet, I can’t do it.’ I said alright Mark, I know you tried, you at least tried.’
“My last conversation with coach Carlisle was, ‘Look, what we did was special and nobody can ever take that away and I’ll forever remember that and what you did for me and my family.’ ’’
As he embarks on his newfound career with the Celtics, Terry ironically is doing so while also searching for a permanent home in the Dallas area. The ties with this area are so deep that Terry already knows this will be his final destination once his basketball career is over.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m from Seattle, Washington, born and raised,’’ Terry said. “But the Jet was born in Dallas and I will never forget it and this will always be home for me.
“To the fans, thank you for all your support over the years, not only on the court, but off the court and in the community. Everybody has been a huge supporter of the Jet and I love it.’’
-- Dwain Price
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