Rick Carlisle wanted to clear up some things in regard to Amar’e Stoudemire and the reason he has yet to play in a game for the Dallas Mavericks.
“He’s not unhealthy,’’ the Mavericks coach said Friday. “We’re making sure that he’s ready to play for the Mavericks is what we’re doing.’’
The Mavs signed Stoudemire to a free-agent contract on Wednesday for the rest of the season at the prorated salary of $485,670.
He sat out Thursday’s game against Oklahoma City and Friday’s game against Houston. The 6-foot-10 center/forward appears likely to play his first game with the Mavs on Sunday against Charlotte.
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Because Stoudemire’s career has been laced with injuries, the Mavs want to be extra cautious that he’s physically fit before he plays.
“He hasn’t played a lot, so we’ve got to get him ready,” owner Mark Cuban said. “He gives us qualities we don’t have — low-post scoring, some rebounding, some more rebounding, the ability to play the pick-and-roll, the pick-and-pop.
“I think he’s going to help us.”
Stoudemire, 32, hasn’t played since Feb. 11 when he was still with the New York Knicks and contributed five points, four rebounds and three turnovers in 14 minutes against the Orlando Magic. The 13-year veteran took a buyout from the Knicks on Monday and — after he cleared waivers — joined the Mavs two days later.
“He didn’t do anything over the [All-Star] break,” Carlisle said. “He wasn’t sure where he was going. We talked to him about the situation, and this is kind of the plan that we came up with, and we think it’s the right plan.”
So, will Stoudemire make his debut with the Mavs on Sunday?
“That’s what we’re aiming for,” Carlisle said. “If you put a gun to my head, I think so. But I haven’t guaranteed anything other than the fact that the weather is going to be a little bit inconsistent in Dallas. Guaranteed.”
The players spoke: They wanted more time off during the All-Star break.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver listened, and then gave them what they wanted.
In the first year under the new plan, teams had a minimum of two extra days during the break before playing their first game.
But as the Mavs discovered during Thursday’s 104-89 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the long layover turned their game into an ugly pile of rust.
The Mavs shot 36.3 percent from the field against the Thunder and committed 18 turnovers. It was the worst shooting percentage of the season for the Mavs and the most turnovers they’ve committed since they turned it over 24 times Jan. 28 against Houston.
“There’s always rust the first game back,” Carlisle said. “Oklahoma City was shooting bad too. They were shooting in the 30s.
“It was 12-9 with three minutes to go in the first quarter. It was just ugly, but it got better as the game went on.”
It’s too early to know if the NBA will go back to the normal time they gave teams off for the All-Star break. Some of it may hinge on the complaints.
“There’s some quirky things that happen with it,” Carlisle said of the extended break. “But going forward I think everybody’s got a good handle on what’s what, and I’m sure there will be communication and we’ll figure out what the best thing is for next year.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760