MINNEAPOLIS -- Only three players remain from the Dallas Mavericks' 2011 NBA championship team after the Mavs surprisingly waived point guard Dominique Jones on Saturday.
Dirk Nowitzki, one of those three current Mavs who was on the championship team, still believes Jones has a legitimate shot to stick in the NBA if he can find the right situation.
"I like Dominique, he was my man,'' Nowitzki told the Star-Telegram after Sunday morning's shoot around at the Target Center. "It's unfortunate.
"I think he's got an NBA body, he's got the NBA strength. Hopefully he'll be able to find a job next year and he'll be able to play.''
Jones was a first-round pick -- the 25th overall -- of the 2010 NBA Draft out of South Florida. But he never could back up, on the court, the brash and cocky attitude he personified.
It didn't help either that Jones had a few off the court indiscretions which the Mavs didn't care for.
"We let him go,'' coach Rick Carlisle said after Sunday's shoot around. "We just thought it was time to make that move and look at some other guys.
"It was time to move on.''
Jones, 24, has been in a free-fall with the Mavs for quite some time. He only played in five games -- for a total of 29 minutes -- since Jan. 1, while sitting out the other 25 because of a coach's decision.
A source said the Mavs wanted to send Jones to play for the Texas Legends of the D-League so he could polish his game, but Jones refused to go. The source also said Jones always thought he was the Mavs' best point guard.
Another source said: "This gives Dominique the opportunity to get the playing time he believes he deserves with another team.''
In 29 games for the Mavs this season, Jones played 11.7 minutes per game and averaged four points and 2.9 assists while shooting 36.7 percent from the field and 11.1 percent from three-point territory. In 80 career games for Dallas, Jones averaged 3.1 points and 1.8 assists in 9.3 minutes while converting 36.6 percent of his field goals and 0.95 percent of his three-point attempts.
"He never really got a real shot at it,'' Nowitzki said. "I like his athleticism, I like what he brought, it just wasn't a good situation to be in.
"I obviously wish him luck for the future. I was always cool with D-Jones and I wish him luck.''
Besides Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Rodrigue Beaubois are the only other players with the Mavs who were members of the 2011 NBA championship team.
-- Dwain Price
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