DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks are moving on without guard Delonte West, and their starting center for Tuesday night’s season opener on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers will likely be someone who wasn’t even on the roster a week ago.
The Mavericks waived West on Monday, the eve of a second straight season with a major roster makeover. West was part of the first retooling a year ago, and figured to be a valuable role player again before two suspensions in as many weeks for conduct detrimental to the team.
Dallas had to dump West to make room for Eddy Curry, a journeyman center who was picked up last week after San Antonio let him go. Curry likely will get the start against the Lakers because Chris Kaman and backup Brandon Wright are battling injuries.
West, who has bipolar disorder, indicated in a series of tweets after the second suspension that his future in Dallas was in doubt. The eighth-year pro was involved in a pair of locker room incidents during the preseason. He was on his second straight one-year contract for the veteran minimum, which was $1.2 million this season.
Part of West’s value a year ago came from being a younger, experienced player to help aging point guard Jason Kidd and another 30-something guard in Jason Terry. But the Mavericks have a much younger backcourt after getting Darren Collison from Indiana to replace Kidd when they missed out on Deron Williams and adding free agent O.J. Mayo to fill Terry’s scoring role.
Dallas grabbed Curry last week after he was released by San Antonio, and he had 11 points and seven rebounds in 27 minutes in Dallas’ preseason finale against Charlotte on Friday.
The fourth pick of the 2001 draft by Chicago, Curry improved his scoring averages all four seasons with the Bulls before getting traded to New York. He averaged a career-high 19.5 points per game in 2006-07 but has played just 24 games combined the past three seasons.
With West out and Curry in, the Mavericks have nine new players on their roster and should have four new starters on the floor against the Lakers with Dirk Nowitzki recovering from knee surgery. The only holdover is Shawn Marion.
“This is what we got. That’s the way it is,” said Marion, now second to Nowitzki in Dallas tenure. “We can’t harp on it all day. We’ll do what we gotta do.”