Offseason Wishlist - Housing Haywood
The big man is coming off of perhaps the best season of his career, even after joining the Mavericks via an All-Star Weekend trade with the Washington Wizards.
While the seven-player exchange on Feb. 13 was headlined by the acquisition of two-time All-Star Caron Butler, Haywood quickly proved to be more than just an accessory. The 30-year-old center averaged 9.1 points and a career-best 9.3 rebounds while splitting 77 games with the Wizards and Mavs, making him a highly sought-after player this summer. But the Mavericks don't intend on letting him go anywhere.
"It's very important to get Haywood re-signed," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "I really liked what he did for us. He's a guy that had an impact on both ends. At 30 years old, he's relatively young for a center. Centers tend to play for a very long time...Brendan is very athletic. He's got a good feel for the game. He's got a good knowledge of the game."
The front office shares the coach's sentiments, once again looking to team Haywood with fellow center Erick Dampier to stabilize the inside.
"With (Haywood and Dampier), it gives us a really nice one-two punch," president of basketball operations and GM Donnie Nelson said. "They do things a little bit different. But between the both of them, you've got a really solid centerpiece with youth and experience. That's something we look for with positions."
Meanwhile, Haywood would certainly like to make Dallas his home for years to come, after escaping the bottom of the standings in Washington and gelling with the players in the Mavericks' locker room upon arrival.
"I would love to be back in Dallas. The team's great. The city's great. The fans are great. We had a very good group of guys. Everything around here is done first class. I think any basketball player that experiences what this franchise has to offer would love to come back here," Haywood said.
No. 33 started 19 of the 28 regular-season games he suited up for the Mavs, connecting on better than 56 percent of his field goal attempts. But after spending his entire career in Washington until his recent departure, Haywood now embarks into the uncharted territory of free agency, with July 1 officially giving the former North Carolina standout the option of selecting a team of his choosing.
The Mavs hope he chooses to stay in Big D.
"I'll worry about free agency when it gets here. July 1, that seems like a long time. So, I have a long time to sit around and think," Haywood said.
For all of your news on the Dallas Mavericks this offseason, visit Mavs.com. Follow Earl K. Sneed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/EarlKSneed.