Flashing that effervescent smile that has become his calling card, Jason Terry had a quick flashback to his glory days in the NBA.
Terry, who turns 38 on Sept. 15, wants to play two more years before retiring. And the man known to the basketball world as “The Jet” wouldn’t mind a reunion with the Dallas Mavericks.
And apparently, the feeling is mutual.
“The word from [the Mavs] is they want me back,” Terry said. “But there have been no negotiations whatsoever.
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“It’s on them. I’m going to let them make the decision.”
While Terry awaits a decision from the Mavs, he’s also weighing his options, including a possible return to the Houston Rockets.
Terry played 77 games for the Rockets last season, averaging 7.0 points and 1.9 assists in 21.3 minutes per game. He shot 42.2 percent from the field and a respectable 39 percent from 3-point range.
Terry also shed his role off the bench to start all 17 playoff games for the Rockets after point guard after Patrick Beverley suffered a late-season injury. The Rockets lost to eventual champion Golden State in the Western Conference Finals.
“I love what we accomplished in Houston, and they’re going to have a chance,” Terry said of his free-agent prospects. “They’re going to come to the table, also, so my options are open.”
But his eyes light up when the conversation turns to the Mavs, for whom he played from 2004-12.
Terry’s home is in Dallas. His NBA career took flight in Dallas. He bleeds Mavericks blue. And he’ll be planting seeds here whenever the clock expires on his pro career.
He would be a nice complement off the bench for the Mavs. He can be a reserve at point guard behind J.J. Barea and Raymond Felton, or a reserve at shooting guard behind Wesley Matthews.
Terry was the Mavs’ starting point guard when they advanced to the 2006 NBA Finals and lost to the Miami Heat in six games. He was the NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2008-09. And he was one of the Mavericks’ top reserves when they captured the 2011 NBA title with a pulsating victory in six games over LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and the Heat.
For now, Terry is busy coaching his Lady Jets youth basketball team, which is playing in an AAU tournament this week in Frisco.
Asked what he misses most about his tenure with the Mavs, an emotional Terry said: “That’s a tough one. I mean, just the city of Dallas — it’s always home.
“You see me out here right now with my grass roots [the youth team]. This is what it’s about for me, what I’ve built up here over the 10 years in the community, and that’s what you miss.”
Terry averaged 18.9 points in the 2006 playoffs and 17.5 in the 2011 postseason. He had several magical runs during his stint with the Mavs, particularly in the fourth quarters of key games.
But as the first week of free agency winds to a close, Terry is patiently waiting on a call, which he hopes comes from the Mavs, although the business part of him knows he’s not in a position to close the door on any option.
In the meantime, Terry watched last week as the Mavs landed Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan.
“He’s a hell of a talent,” Terry said. “I think for years to come he’s going to be a dominant presence in the middle and he’s going to be good for the Mavericks.”
Terry just hopes he’ll be able to fire up some his patented 3-pointers while Jordan packs the paint down low.
Even if he doesn’t play his final days with the Mavs, Terry knows he’ll one day be reunited with the franchise. Owner Mark Cuban has said he will retire Terry’s No. 31, and that the Seattle native will have a have a job waiting for him if he wants it.
“Mark already said whatever I want to do in the future he’s open to it, so I’m going to hold him to his word,” Terry said. “Mark has done a great job with that over his tenure here with the Mavericks.
“He hired Michael Finley, Popeye Jones and Avery Johnson. Mark makes it a point to take care of his guys, and you’ve got to respect that.”
At that point, Terry flashed that effervescent smile again. And said, before departing:
“My goal is to play two years and then to make my transition into coaching after the second year. And that’s what I want to do — wherever I’m at.”
Then and now
A look at Jason Terry’s stats with the Mavericks (2004-12) compared with the past three seasons (2012-15), which he spent with Boston, Brooklyn and Houston.
Jason Terry file
Jason Terry, who played half of his 16-year career with the Mavs, would like to finish his career in Dallas. Here are some of the things Terry has accomplished in his career:
NCAA champion at Arizona in 1997. ... Consensus first-team All-America in 1999. ... Pac-10 Player of the Year in 1999. ... The 10th overall pick of the 1999 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks, and was all-rookie second team that season. ... The starter at point guard when the Mavs advanced to the 2006 NBA Finals. ... NBA Sixth Man award winner in 2009. ... Top reserve when the Mavs captured the 2011 NBA title. ... Ranks third in NBA history for most 3-pointers made with 2,076.