HOUSTON – Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban already has a job waiting for Jason Terry whenever the 16-year veteran guard decides to retire.
"Sounds good, sounds good, until I'm done and that’s the key,’’ Terry said. "I’m not done yet.’’
By his own admission, Terry is just getting started. While the clock says he’s 37 years old and at the tail end of his illustrious career, Terry sees it from a different perspective.
Now the starting point guard for the Houston Rockets, Terry has always been an eternal optimist. During his career with the Mavs – Terry played for Dallas from 2004-’12 – he was always a vocal leader who also had a penchant for hitting clutch shots.
So, to get back into the playoffs after missing out on the postseason last year when he was with the Sacramento Kings is like royalty to the Seattle native.
"This is real special for me,’’ Terry said. "Again, it’s my 16th season, I wasn’t in the playoffs last year, so I'm excited.
"I feel like a little kid in a candy store. These opportunities just don’t come, and when I set out to come to Houston when I was in Sacramento it was for this opportunity itself and now it’s right here before us.’’
That it’s the Mavs who the Rockets are up against in a best-of-seven first-round playoff series matters not to Terry. Yet he recalls being in the other locker room in 2005 when the Mavs dropped the first two games at home in the first-round series against Houston, and then won Game 7 by a massive 116-76 score.
"How ironic, 10 years ago I was the starting point guard for the Dallas Mavericks against Houston in the series and now again I'm the starting point guard for the Rockets,’’ Terry said. "It is ironic, but it is something that I've always prepared myself for and I'm ready for the task at hand and it’s a good thing we’ve got a good group around me.
"So it ain't just me by myself, so I am prepared.’’
Terry also is prepared for when the series shifts to Dallas and American Airlines Center for Games 3 and 4 next weekend. He knows he’s well-loved in Dallas, but that love may have to be placed on hold until this series is over.
"There's always emotions -- it's the playoffs,’’ Terry said. "Anytime I go in that (AAC) building there’s emotion.
"But again, for me I'm a player that lives off that. Other guys may be distracted by it or may be sidetracked. For me, I understand what’s at stake and these are the moments I live for.’’
Terry started at point guard for the Mavs when they advanced to the 2006 NBA Finals, and was the team’s top reserve under coach Rick Carlisle when they captured the 2011 NBA title.
"He’s done a great job for them, and he’s a proven champions,’’ Carlisle said. "This is the time of year where he’s always played his best.
"We have a lot of respect for him. He’s a tough competitor and we’re going to have to be ready to deal with him.’’
And deal with him for games beyond this season, because retirement in the foreseeable future is just not on Terry’s radar. Thus, that job offer from Cuban has to wait.
"(There’s) a lot of basketball left in me and it starts with Game 1,’’ Terry said. "I'm just excited to be in the playoffs and have a realistic shot, and so we are here.
"It's home court for a reason. We’ve got the greatest fans in the game right here in Houston and we want to make that known in Game 1.’’