Help wanted for Mavericks: Make millions, no skills necessary

Posted Thursday, Jul. 11, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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If you have a son who’s 7 feet tall, you might want to call the Dallas Mavericks.

They sure could use a center.

For starters, the pay is good. So, too, are the fringe benefits.

As long as he can walk and chew gum at the same time, he’ll likely be an instant millionaire. He’ll fly on owner Mark Cuban’s spiffy plane that’s equipped with lots of leg room.

On road trips, when your son arrives at the team’s swanky five-star hotel, he’ll be greeted by some of the world’s most beautiful women. They’ll even talk to him and give him their phone numbers.

They may even marry him and have some beautiful kids with him. And he might buy you a mansion one day.

The cool thing about being an NBA center is that a lot of the ones in today’s game are not even that good. That’s not even a prerequisite for the job.

You just have to be tall. These days — when true NBA centers have gone the way of the dinosaur — tall is good.

Life is so wonderful for tall guys that this one tall fellow, Dwight Howard, left the Los Angeles Lakers — along with $118 million — so he could sign with the Houston Rockets for $88 million.

I didn’t major in math, but it looks like Howard’s bank account is $30 million short because of that wild transaction.

Then again, tall guys have it like that. They win the Powerball Lottery even when they mess up and pick the wrong numbers.

Back in the day, the Mavs had 7-foot-6 Shawn Bradley, who was vilified across the NBA because he got picked on, and dunked on, a lot.

In a 12-year career, he averaged just 8.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game and endured more fan abuse than perhaps any player in league history.

But Bradley had the last laugh. His first two NBA contracts were worth $80 million.

Only two NBA players have been taller than Bradley: Gheorghe Muresan and Manute Bol. Both were 7-7.

And all three were NBA footnotes.

There are a lot of tall guys taking up valuable space on NBA benches. But these guys are a hot commodity.

The Mavs have been scouring the planet for a tall player. They were close to getting Howard, who left California for Houston.

Andrew Bynum, another 7-footer, flew to Dallas earlier this week.

He had lunch with some Mavs personnel on Wednesday and apparently couldn’t stomach the conversation.

A few hours later, Bynum didn’t wait for the Mavs to make him an offer. He and his two gimpy knees decided that Cleveland was paradise, so he signed a two-year deal with the Cavaliers worth $24.5 million.

That left the Mavs scrambling and hot on the heels of two more tall guys with iffy pasts: Samuel Dalembert and Greg Oden.

Dalembert, 6-11, is 32 and has career averages of 8.1 points and 8.0 rebounds. He’s available because he’s 32 and working on his fifth team in the past five seasons.

Oden, 7-foot, was the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, taken over Kevin Durant by the Portland Trail Blazers. But you’ve probably seen him more in a suit than in a uniform.

Oden has played 82 of a possible 476 games. He missed the 2007-08 season and hasn’t played since December 2009.

But Oden is still in high demand. The Mavericks, Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs are breaking their necks trying to get Oden’s name on a contract.

Why?

Mainly because he’s tall.

Oden has undergone the dreaded microfracture surgery on both knees. But NBA personnel are chasing him around as if he’s the second coming of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

If Oden were 6 feet tall instead of 7 feet tall, NBA folks wouldn’t even take his phone call.

But somehow the smart people running the league have been hoodwinked into thinking that just because a guy is tall, he’s an effective basketball player.

In other words, if you have a son who’s extremely tall, get him to pick up a basketball.

Maybe he’ll buy you a mansion one day.

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice

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