DALLAS – Since the All-Star break, Samuel Dalembert has played well enough to exceed the expectations the Dallas Mavericks had of him when they acquired him via free agency last summer.
Dalembert, in fact, has suddenly become one of the best bargains of last summer’s free agency class. At least he is, according to Donnie Nelson, the Mavs’ president of basketball operations, who also said Dalembert will "absolutely'' return next season.
“He was the last thing on the board, so he was the only bargain,’’ Nelson said after Tuesday’s shootaround at American Airlines Center. “Honestly, that was one of things that (last summer) we’re looking at him and he’s looking at us.
“It’s like the prom, and we’re the last two ones standing by the wall. Well, "You want to do this thing?’’
Nelson told a story of trying to convince Dalembert to sign with the Mavs while he was in Africa last summer.
“We have a great relationship with Sammie and we all spend time in Africa together,’’ Nelson said. “I’m like, ‘Sammie, come on. Let’s just do this thing.’
“The problem was getting him off the fishing boat. We couldn’t find him for a week. He just disappeared from the planet. I’m like, it must be nice down there.’’
Dalembert eventually signed a two-year contract with the Mavs that pays him $3.7 million this season, and is partially guaranteed next season for $3.8 million.
-- Dwain Price
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