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Mavs sign Dalembert, almost have starters

DALLAS (AP) - The Dallas Mavericks are one signature away from securing another overhaul of their starting lineup.

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The deal announced Friday with free agent center Samuel Dalembert means four of the projected starters in Dallas are under contract. The other, shooting guard Monta Ellis, has a verbal agreement.

The 32-year-old Dalembert's contract is reportedly worth $7.5 million over two seasons.

Dalembert is likely to be the fifth starting center in the past five seasons for the Mavericks, who are retooling their roster for the third straight offseason. Their first priority in free agency was center Dwight Howard, but he chose Houston.

The NBA's only Haitian-born player, Dalembert has career averages of 8.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. He played for Milwaukee last season, and Dallas will be his fourth team in four seasons after playing the first eight years of his career with Philadelphia.

Dalembert started 13 of the first 14 games for the Bucks last season but lost the job to Larry Sanders. At one point after his role was reduced, Dalembert was suspended for a game at Dallas for what was said to be a pattern of behavior. He played just 47 games, averaging 6.7 points and 5.9 rebounds.

Things didn't go as planned for the Mavericks at center last year, either. Chris Kaman signed a one-year, $8 million deal to be the starter, and while he was in that role more than anyone else, he averaged a career-low 20.7 minutes.

The Mavericks also have new starters in the backcourt with Ellis and fellow free agent Jose Calderon, a point guard. Calderon signed a four-year, $29 million deal, and the agreement with Ellis is reportedly worth about $25 million over three years. Dallas decided not to bring back Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo after a one-year experiment with both.

Dallas will have three new starters for the second straight year to go with Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion.

The Mavericks have overhauled their roster all three offseasons since winning the franchise's first championship in 2011. With the longer contracts for Calderon and Ellis, that streak is likely to end next summer.

AP NEWS
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The Associated Press
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