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News » Filling the final spot Mavs eye three for their 15th slot - and one's not even in camp

Filling the final spot Mavs eye three for their 15th slot - and one's not even in camp

Filling the final spot Mavs eye three for their 15th slot - and one's not even in camp While injuries pile up, the Mavericks as always are trying to turn a negative into a positive.

The lack of healthy bodies gives them no choice but to zero in on specific players - such as the ones fighting for the final roster spot.

They found out Monday that Shawn Marion will be sidelined for a few days to rest a sore calf. Josh Howard and Tim Thomas also are out, and that gives Rick Carlisle and his staff extra opportunities to evaluate players fighting for jobs - actually, one job.

The 15th spot - and yes, the Mavericks figure to carry the maximum amount during this tough economic climate because they have 16 guaranteed contracts anyway - will come down to two players who have shown plenty in training camp and one who isn't even in camp.

Nathan Jawai, the 280-pound bruiser, and Jake Voskuhl, the nine-year veteran who always seems to catch a team's eye, theoretically should be the only players under consideration. But Shawne Williams, who has been told not to be around the team, is guaranteed $2.4 million this season, and that could be a useful chip later in the season if multi-player trades present themselves.

Jawai is guaranteed more than $700,000, and Voskuhl's deal is nonguaranteed.

Bear in mind that Jawai and Williams will cost owner Mark Cuban double, since he is over the NBA luxury tax threshold and will have to play a dollar-for-dollar penalty for being so. If Voskuhl were kept, his salary also would cost Cuban double.

That would suggest that the odds are stacked against the 6-11 Voskuhl. But he hasn't been in the league nine seasons for no reason. He often beats the odds.

"Decisions on roster spots will be based on everything - from contract status to how guys are playing," Carlisle said Monday. "And any assumption that someone without a guaranteed contract would be precluded from making the team would be inaccurate."

Most likely, these players have roster spots secured: Marion, Howard, Thomas, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Drew Gooden, Erick Dampier, Quinton Ross, James Singleton, J.J. Barea, Roddy Beaubois, Matt Carroll and Kris Humphries.

That leaves one opening.

The coaches have been impressed with Voskuhl, at least partly because he has length that can come in handy against Western Conference big men such as Andrew Bynum, Tim Duncan, Nene and Greg Oden.

The situation with Williams complicates matters. If the Mavericks could reach a buyout with him for less than the $2.4 million he's owed, they would likely do it.

If not, his contract may be kept as a possible chip in future trades. A couple years ago, the Mavericks waived D.J. Mbenga and ended up regretting it when they got the chance to trade for Jason Kidd and had to sign Keith Van Horn to facilitate the deal. Mbenga's contract could have made the deal work, too.

"We'll evaluate guys in camp, and the decisions will be based on how they play," Carlisle said. "Mark's the guy who's going to make the decision, and Donnie [Nelson] and I will give him our recommendations. But he knows who's good and who deserves to be on the team and can help us win."

Marion to sit a spell: Marion will miss the next few days of practice and probably Thursday's preseason game against Detroit with a mild right calf strain, team officials said.

Marion said after Sunday night's game that he didn't think the injury was serious, but wanted to give it some time to fully heal. He missed the preseason opener with the same injury, then had 26 points in the second exhibition.

"It's not a serious problem right now, and we want to prevent it from getting unmanageable," Carlisle said.

The injuries to Marion, Howard (left ankle) and Thomas (right knee) mean only 13 players were healthy for practice Monday.

And it also means other players will get more playing time Thursday.

"Singleton is going to start seeing some more minutes at three [small forward]," Carlisle said, adding that perimeter players could slide to small forward.

Mavericks SCHEDULE



Day Date Opponent TV Time

Thu 15 Detroit HDNet 7:30 Sat 17 Cleveland Ch. 21 7:30 Tue 20 at Cleveland* HDNet 6:30 Fri 23 at Houston Ch. 21 7:30

* at Pittsburgh OCTOBER


Day Date Opponent TV Time

Tue 27 Washington 7:30

Fri 30 at LA Lakers ESPN 9:30

Sat 31 at LA Clippers 9:30


Day Date Opponent TV Time

Tue 3 Utah 7:30

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 14, 2009


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