Mavericks bank on Felton turning over new leaf

Posted Friday, Jun. 27, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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The Dallas Mavericks are well aware of the run-in newly acquired point guard Raymond Felton had with the law in New York during the 2013-14 season.

On Feb. 25, Felton was charged with two felony counts of gun possession after his estranged wife alleged that he took the gun out during heated arguments. Felton was charged because he possessed a gun that he wasn’t registered to have.

Felton, however, reached a plea deal Monday that will allow him to avoid jail time. He in turn will be fined $5,000 and sentenced to 500 hours of community service, according to his attorney, Jim Walden.

Walden said that Felton never threatened anyone with the gun, The New York Times reported. The guilty plea is expected to be entered Monday, and the NBA has said it is monitoring the case.

The Mavericks acquired Tyson Chandler and Felton in a trade Wednesday that sent Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin and Wayne Ellington to the New York Knicks.

Donnie Nelson, the Mavericks’ president of basketball operations, said he did his due diligence with Felton and believes Dallas offers a fresh start for the nine-year veteran.

“We certainly have the kind of locker room that has done good with those kinds of players in the past,” Nelson said. “I think and I hope that Raymond will follow suit with some of the other players that we’ve dealt with in the same way.

“I know that he’s a good person and he’s got a big heart. We certainly did our homework.”

Nelson cited Jerry Stackhouse and Nick Van Exel as players who joined the Mavericks with baggage, but were effective players once they got to Dallas.

“I think we’ve had a lot of success over the years in guys that went through a hard year previously,” Nelson said. “You look at Jerry Stackhouse when we acquired him — here’s a guy that probably a lot of folks wouldn’t have touched.

“Nick Van Exel is another. You go down the line, we’ve done a pretty good job of bringing guys like that into the fold, having them buy in.”

Felton averaged a career-low 9.7 points in 31 minutes per game last season for the Knicks. He also averaged 5.6 assists, shot 39.5 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from 3-point range.

Chandler signed on to the acquisition of Felton, who was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2007 draft after winning the NCAA title at North Carolina that season.

“Raymond is a great guy,” Chandler said. “A lot of things happened clearly last year with him, and the one thing that he did, he always competed.

“He was always a man about it, always a great teammate. And I’m glad that he’s over here with us.”

While Felton might be a downgrade at point guard from Calderon, he could be a key player in the Mavericks’ pursuit of Knicks free-agent small forward Carmelo Anthony. Felton, who turned 30 on Thursday, told ESPN New York: “I would like to play with anybody [like Anthony] who has that type of talent.

“Melo’s a great friend. We’ve known each other since the high school AAU tournaments and camps and stuff. We go way back. So definitely. I would love to play with him. Who wouldn’t?”

Nelson, meanwhile, has no second-thoughts about obtaining Felton, who only played 65 games last season while dealing with various injuries.

“Raymond has been through some tough times,” Nelson said. “It’s no secret that he’s made some mistakes and he wishes that he had them back.

“It’s no secret that he’s gone through some difficult times in New York.”

The Mavericks hope that Dallas can be where Felton takes advantage of his fresh start.

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

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