Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Veteran center Jamaal Magloire signed

The Mavericks filled a need for a true backup center Tuesday by signing free agent Jamaal Magloire, a former All-Star waived by New Jersey last week.

Magloire (6-11, 265) will practice with the Mavs on Wednesday and be available for Thursday night’s visit to San Antonio. The 29-year-old helps fill the void left when Gana Diop was shipped to the Nets as part of the Jason Kidd trade.

“We’re very fortunate to be able to acquire Jamaal Magloire,” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. “We were concerned about our backup center spot after the trade and this will provide us some much needed depth.”

Magloire has played sparingly this season – his first in New Jersey – but he’s been productive for most of his eight-year career. He averaged 9.2 points and 9.5 rebounds with Milwaukee in 2005-06, his last season as a full-time starter. Those numbers dipped to 6.5 points and 6.1 boards last season in Portland when he mostly came off the bench.

His glory years were with New Orleans from 2002-05. The Toronto native averaged a double-double during 2003-04 (13.6 points and 10.3 rebounds), earning All-Star honors that season. He’s averaged 8.7 points and 7.3 boards in 530 career games, including 301 starts.

“He’s the perfect age at 29, a former AS, who brings toughness, rebounding and defense,” Nelson added.

Magloire’s additions should ease Avery Johnson’s concerns behind Erick Dampier. Johnson had been using an undersized collection of forwards – Malik Allen, Brandon Bass and Juwan Howard – to spell Dampier. That combination has performed admirably during the last three games, especially considering Dampier’s revitalized play.

But it should be noted that the frontlines of Memphis, Minnesota and Chicago don’t exactly measure up to those of San Antonio, Phoenix, L.A. Lakers and the other Western Conference contenders. The Mavs were in the market for size and experience, and Magloire provides both.

The Kentucky product was playing less than 11 minutes per game this season and his decreased production was an issue. His former Nets teammates in Dallas, specifically Kidd, assured the Mavs front office that Magloire can still contribute.

The Mavs aren’t done shopping with one roster spot remaining. The team is part of Brent Barry Sweepstakes, along with just about every contender, including in-state rivals San Antonio and Houston. Barry, released by Seattle, has already cleared waivers. Sam Cassell could also be a possibility if he’s released by the L.A. Clippers.

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