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News » Report: Diop, Mavs agree on $31M contract 2008-07-03

Report: Diop, Mavs agree on $31M contract 2008-07-03

Report: Diop, Mavs agree on $31M contract 2008-07-03
DALLAS (AP) - The Dallas Mavericks had to give up DeSagana Diop to get Jason Kidd. Now, the 7-foot center is headed back to Dallas.

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Diop agreed Wednesday to a $31 million, five-year contract with the Mavericks, according to a person close to the negotiations who requested anonymity because NBA rules prevent the deal from being signed until next week.

Dallas also has agreed to a one-year, minimum-salary contract with Gerald Green, a 22-year-old former slam dunk champion who had been unemployed since March. He passed a physical Wednesday and paperwork to make the deal official is being finalized. Since he wasn't on a team when last season ended, he can be signed at any time.

In other free agent news, Eddie Jones has exercised his $2 million option to return next season, when he'll be 37, and the Mavs are trying to keep their other free agents: Devean George, Antoine Wright and J.J. Barea.

Diop is a former lottery pick who was considered a bust after four lousy years in Cleveland. The Mavs signed him for the 2005-06 season and he wound up splitting the center job with Erick Dampier as Dallas reached the NBA finals. He and Dampier shared the job against the following season, when the Mavericks won a franchise-record 67 games.

He was traded to the New Jersey Nets in the blockbuster trade for Kidd. The Nets knew he was headed to free agency - and the Mavs were waiting for him. Dallas showed how badly it wanted him by using its full mid-level exception to seal the deal.

Only 26, his familiar smile and amiable personality are sure to be welcomed back into the locker room.

Dallas will be Green's fourth team in as many seasons. He was drafted 18th overall by Boston in 2005 and won the dunk contest in 2007. He went to Minnesota in the Kevin Garnett trade, then was sent to Houston a few days after finishing second in the '08 dunk contest. The Rockets used him in one game, then released him.

"Sure, it's been humbling," agent Colin Bryant said. "If you're out of the league, you have a lot of time to think about it. That's where his hunger and focus come from. It's a brand new Gerald Green. The rest of the league will soon find that out."

If Green can revert to his teen-prodigy form, his age and athleticism would be an ideal fit for an offense that's looking to run more with Kidd and new coach Rick Carlisle.

"I think it'll be a great fit for him and Jason Kidd," Bryant said. "Jason Kidd is going to make the game real easy for him."

Green won't have to look far for inspiration. Diop revived his career by coming to Dallas when he was 24 and on the verge of falling out of the league, and last season Brandon Bass was only 22 when he developed into a solid member of the rotation after two forgettable years in New Orleans.

With their mid-level exception gone, the Mavericks may be done with free agency, at least the high-profile part. Then again, they've already locked up their centers, feel good about having Dirk Nowitzki and Bass at power forward and are eager to see what Kidd can do over a full season.

Once Green, Jones and Diop are officially signed, Dallas will have 10 players under contract.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: July 3, 2008


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