DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks’ Wednesday press conference was designed as an introductory showcase for rookies Shane Larkin, Ricky Ledo and Gal Mekel. But when team officials finished showering them with praise, talk turned to an introduction they can only hope will happen: the acquisition of oft-injured free-agent center Andrew Bynum.
Mavs GM Donnie Nelson confirmed Bynum was in town Wednesday and said he and agent David Lee “had a nice visit with our doctors, we had a lunch. Beyond that, the negotiations are ongoing. … We’re in the process of gathering information.”
Bynum, 25, has knee problems that may preclude him from ever returning to the All-Star form he displayed two seasons ago with the Lakers. He averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds before missing all of last season with the 76ers. Cleveland and Atlanta are also involved in the bidding.
Bynum’s agent, David Lee, told The
Associated Press that the 7-footer has not yet picked a new team. Lee
said he expects to have “further dialogue” with the Cavs, whose offer
includes a team option in the second year. Lee said he was “not sure”
when a decision would be finalized.
“We’re having a medical discussion,” said Nelson, noting that Bynum did not work out for the team. “We’ll have an opportunity to get with him and his agent and better understand the risks involved and make a good decision for our franchise.”
Meanwhile, Nelson also termed the acquisition of high-scoring free-agent guard Monta Ellis a “long shot,” confirmed that the club is unlikely to bring back guard Roddy Beaubois and joined coach Rick Carlisle is painting a positive picture of what the three rookie guards might add.
“We think this rookie class is probably a little more ready to step into the jumpseat than others we’ve had,” Nelson said.
Said first-round pick Larkin: “I’m excited to be here and to work. I’ve just got to go out there and show everything I can do.”
Said Gal Mekel, signed from Israel: “I’m a true point guard. I like to get everyone involved and make all my teammates better.
Larkin and Mekel are point guards. Ledo is a shooting guard. All three are projected to play behind probable starters Devin Harris and Jose Calderon.
As the Mavs continue to piece together a roster following the swing-and-a-miss bid on Dwight Howard, they are “in discussion,” Nelson said, with possible frontcourt returnees Elton Brand and Brandan Wright.