Dallas Mavericks

Mavs close to signing James to 10-day contract

DALLAS – Bernard James is on the verge of returning to the Dallas Mavericks on a 10-day contract, according to a source.

James (6-10, 240) just finished playing for the Shanghai Sharks in China, and the Mavs hope to have him signed in time so he can play in Wednesday’s home game against the Utah Jazz. The Mavs are awaiting clearance from FIBA before they can sign James.

The Mavs were already in search of a big man before center Tyson Chandler injured his left ankle in Monday’s 115-98 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. That desperation went up a notch or two when Chandler drove to the lane and appeared to have twisted his ankle while trying to make a move past Spencer Hawes.

James, meanwhile, is very familiar with the Mavs’ system. A second-round pick out of Florida State in 2012, in 46 games as a rookie in the 2012-’13 season, James averaged 2.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 9.9 minutes per game.

And in 30 games last season with the Mavs, James averaged 0.9 points, 1.4 rebounds and 4.9 minutes per game.

The Mavs are still in the hunt for free agent Jermaine O’Neal. They also hope to secure Amar’e Stoudemire, who may take a buyout from the New York Knicks.

Either way, the 36-year old O’Neal, who lives in Southlake, is contemplating whether he wants to continue playing after he spent last season with the Golden State Warriors. And Stoudemire probably won’t be available – if at all – until after the NBA trade deadline ends on Feb. 19.

It is not known how long Chandler will be sidelined. But forward Dirk Nowitzki said after the loss to the Clippers that the Mavs don’t expect Chandler and guard Monta Ellis (hip) to play against the Jazz.