Gil LeBreton

Mavericks add Amar’e, stir mix again

The Mavericks don’t need him to be the Amar’e Stoudemire of old. He just needs to fit in and contribute.
The Mavericks don’t need him to be the Amar’e Stoudemire of old. He just needs to fit in and contribute. AP

Wait a minute.

Goran Dragic was available last week at the NBA trade deadline?

Reggie Jackson? Brandon Knight?

And here the Dallas Mavericks are, still waiting for Amar’e Stoudemire to get in game shape and for Rajon Rondo to get accustomed to his new uniform?

It’s easy to window shop, of course, for the Mavericks. But at some point, as coach Rick Carlisle seemed to remind everyone, something resembling a team has to be given time to take shape.

Stoudemire, the latest roll of the dice? Well, why not?

The 6-foot-10, 13-year veteran is only 32 years old, though he plays older (not a compliment).

His numbers have been on the decline for four seasons. If local fans think they’re getting the same guy that lit up the Mavericks for 30 points and 14 rebounds, please kindly step away from the Wayback Machine.

True, it’s hard to take the pulse of anyone who’s been lashed to the mast of a team that has won only 10 of 54 games. But if Stoudemire could have helped his old team, the New York Knicks — and who couldn’t? — wouldn’t they have been using him more?

Maybe the Mavericks have a magic elixir for Stoudemire.

Or, as his reunited teammate Tyson Chandler said in explaining why this was such a good move for Amar’e, “We’ve got the best training staff in the league.”

He doesn’t have to be the old Amar’e. He just has to come off the bench, rebound, run a few pick-and-rolls — his special sauce — and rebound some more.

If he does that, Stoudemire will be worth the reported prorated minimum of $485,670 that the Mavericks will be paying him.

If not, fans have a right to continue to miss Brandan Wright, who took his productive offensive game to Boston in the Rondo trade.

Rondo. Now there’s a sore subject, isn’t it?

Up until last week, when NBA teams started sending point guards back and forth across the country, the argument behind trading for Rondo was still valid. The deal came down during the week before Christmas. The move was aggressive, proactive.

What could possibly go wrong?

Two months later, the question is when are things going to go right?

Rondo, by all chemistry tables, has yet to blend with his new teammates. The six games he missed with facial fractures have not helped.

Nor has his shooting, which has been ... spotty. In the bluntest terms, Rondo hasn’t helped the Mavericks any more than Jameer Nelson, the point guard that he was brought here to replace.

That doesn’t mean that it can’t happen, that the day won’t come when Rondo figures out that Dirk is the tall, pale German guy.

Sometimes, though, you take a chance with the lineup’s chemistry, and the locker room never quite smells the same.

Dragic, for one, who can shoot, would have been a more interesting and less costly addition.

But be fair. It’s hard to criticize the Mavericks for not waiting and going after Dragic, Jackson or Knight, when we applauded them in December for being conference aggressors.

There is time, after all. Stoudemire is scheduled to make his Mavericks debut Sunday against Charlotte. Rondo, the team says, had to restart his orientation after the facial injury.

More and more, anyway, this doesn’t look like a team built for February and March. The important stuff still happens later — in the playoffs, as the Spurs continue to remind us year after year.

Nobody wants to play the Mavericks in the Western Conference’s first round, the so-called NBA experts say.

Maybe they don’t. Or maybe it won’t matter.

Chemistry can turn out funny.

Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697

Twitter: @gilebreton

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