Mavericks working on deal to land veteran Carter

Posted Friday, Dec. 09, 2011  comments  Print Reprints
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DALLAS -- Vince Carter is close to joining the world champion Dallas Mavericks, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations.

The only holdup now is if Carter will agree to a one-year contract, since the Mavs want to maintain their salary cap flexibility for next summer's free-agent market.

Carter, a 6-foot-6 forward who turns 35 next month, averaged 13.5 points and shot 42.2 percent in 51 games for Phoenix last season. The Suns got Carter last Dec. 18 from Orlando, where he averaged 15 points in 22 games.

Carter was a teammate of Mavs point guard Jason Kidd with the New Jersey Nets from 2003-'07.

The Suns waived Carter on Friday within a 72-hour window that allows them to pay only $4 million of the $18 million he's owed for 2011-12.

Chandler to Knicks

On the day Tyson Chandler decided to sign a four-year, $58 million contract with the New York Knicks, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle got back to the business of basketball.

As the Mavs opened training camp Friday, Carlisle wasted no time letting everyone know what he expects from Brendan Haywood and Ian Mahinmi, last year's second- and third-string centers.

"Haywood's going to be our starter," Carlisle said. "Last year was a bit of an aberration for his career. But the fact that we had him coming off the bench was one of the reasons we had such a strong club, and we'll be strong again this year because he's a darn good starter."

Haywood played 18.5 minutes per game last season and averaged 4.4 points and 5.2 rebounds.

"Just knowing you're going to get more minutes is definitely an added plus," Haywood said. "But you have to go out there and do something with your minutes."

Haywood has career averages of 7.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. Chandler's career numbers are 8.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.

Wright signs

The Mavs have 11 players under contract after signing 6-foot-10 power forward Brandan Wright, a former lottery pick, to a two-year contract. The second year of the contract is at the Mavs' option.

The only player absent Friday was small forward Rudy Fernandez, who was acquired in a draft-day trade with Portland.

Fernandez is having visa problems trying to get out of his home country in Spain, but is expected to be at practice Monday.

The Mavericks lost Caron Butler in free agency, and J.J. Barea is also expected to leave Dallas.

A new chapter

With Mavs free agents finding new homes, Shawn Marion said it's time to turn the page.

"Everybody equally participated in helping win this championship last year, and we've got a lot of guys who came back," Marion said. "So we've got to worry about what's in this locker room right now.

"I wish them the best of luck, wherever their destination leads them. But we've got to get ready for Dallas Mavericks basketball."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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