Jason Terry stole the show Thursday during the batting practice phase leading up to Dirk Nowitzki’s 2016 Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game.
Terry said that the best way for the Dallas Mavericks to get back into the championship picture is to find a way to sign Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard this summer.
Howard is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Rockets and become a free agent on July 1.
If [Howard] comes to Dallas they’ll be talking about Dallas in the likes of winning a championship.
Former Mavericks player Jason Terry
With the Mavs being dominated inside the paint lastseason, Terry believes Howard is the right person to solve their interior woes.
“If [Howard] comes to Dallas they’ll be talking about Dallas in the likes of winning a championship,” Terry said. “He would look good. Anybody that has his physical stature alongside of Dirk is always a huge factor.”
Terry and Howard were Rockets teammates the past two seasons. So the shooting guard who helped the Mavs win the 2011 NBA title knows first-hand about the capabilities of the 6-foot-11, 265-pound center.
“He still can be a dominant force, primarily on the defense end,” said Terry, who becomes a free agent next month. “He’s such a presence back there controlling the paint.
“And then offensively, when he sets screens and rolls hard to the basket and runs the floor, he’s one of the best we have.”
Terry said Howard can play with the best.
“There are three dominant centers, and that’s DeMarcus Cousins [of the Sacramento Kings], DeAndre Jordan [of the Los Angeles Clippers] and Dwight Howard,” Terry said. “Not to mention [Memphis’] Marc Gasol, but he’s a different kind of center because of his back to the basket game and the way he can pass.
“But those other three, they’re athletic, they run the floor. And Dwight fits that perfectly.”
If Howard winds up with the Mavs, a few of his new teammates will be returning from off-season surgery.
Guards J.J. Barea (right medial meniscus) and Devin Harris (left big toe, left thumb) underwent surgery last month.
So did guard Deron Williams, who recently underwent sports hernia surgery.
Of course, this is where I want to be. I would love to come back here, so hopefully we can make that happen.
Guard Raymond Felton, who is likely to become a free agent next month, but hopes to return
Williams plans to opt out of his contract and become a free agent on July 1. And Nowitzki, whose celebrity baseball game starts at 7 p.m. Friday at Dr Pepper Ballpark, said he’s close to announcing that he also will opt out and join Williams in free agency.
In addition, guard Raymond Felton will become a free agent next month, but expressed a strong desire to return to the Mavs.
“Of course, this is where I want to be,” Felton said. “I would love to come back here, so hopefully we can make that happen.”
After an injury-riddled 2014-15 season, Felton bounced back and had a solid season when he averaged 9.5 points and 3.6 assists in the regular season, and 15 points and 4.6 assists in the playoffs.
“You know how free agency goes,” Felton said. “It’s a process and a back-and-forth thing. I’m out of it now. My agent and the organization, it’s their situation now. I just sit back and wait.”
Center/forward Dwight Powell, who becomes a restricted free agent next month, is also waiting to see what transpires. And he knows business may force him to play elsewhere.
“I have agents that are kind of trying to take care of that stuff for me,” Powell said. “My job is to be ready for whatever opportunity. For me it’s business as usual. I mean, I show up to the gym and work”