DALLAS -- That time center Dallas Mavericks center Bernard James missed this past summer while haggling with his contract apparently didn’t cost him any valuable time trying to improve his game.
James missed most of the summer league while the Mavs worked on his contract. But the Mavs believe the second-year didn’t fall behind in his progress.
“He missed the little time in the summer, but it’s insignificant,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said after Wednesday's practice. “No, he didn’t get (behind).
“He’s gotten better and better, and he’s gotten a better understanding of what we do here as time has gone on.’’
A second-round pick last season, James flew to Las Vegas with his teammates in July so he could play
in the summer league. He responded with nine rebounds and three blocks in the opener against Sacramento, but didn’t play in any other games while the Mavs explored their contract options.
James eventually became an unrestricted free agent when the Mavs had to use his money to sign other free agents, although they assured him they wanted him back. After the dust settled, the Mavs finally picked up the qualifying offer on James’ contract that’ll pay him $788,872 this season.
“I figured stuff would work out,’’ James said. “I worked hard last year, I made progress throughout the year and I think that’s what any coach and any team wants to see.
“I know Dallas saw that and other teams saw it as well – the progress that I made throughout the
season -- so I wasn’t too worried. It was only like a week. If it would have gone for a couple of months, I probably would have gotten a little worried.’’
-- Dwain Price
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