David Lee is officially a member of the Dallas Mavericks.
The team announced the news on Monday, confirming chatter that was bandied about the NBA sphere over the weekend, just after the trade deadline. Here’s a snippet of Dallas’ release:
The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed free agent forward/center David Lee. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. In a related move, the Mavericks also requested waivers on guard John Jenkins.
Waiver-wire additions don’t typically have a huge impact. Josh Smith, at one point, saved the Houston Rockets’ season last year, and that’s about as much as you can hope for. Lee isn’t necessarily going to even be as important to the Mavericks, but the two-time All-Star has that potential.
His mid-range game has cratered, and that can make it difficult to play him at the 4 alongside, say, Zaza Pachulia. His lackluster rim protection also means trotting him out at the 5 with Dirk Nowitzki at the 4 is likely a no-go.
But Lee can still put the ball on the floor and makes quick decisions on the move. His assist percentage has never been higher, and he has serious potential as a pick-and-roll finisher and playmaker. The Mavericks can use him like they use Pachulia, only he won’t provide the same level of defense.
Still, for a Mavericks team that’s trying to contend for a top-five playoff spot and avoid a first-round matchup with the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder, this is a solid acquisition, especially for this time of year.
Dallas still needs some help on the wing and should keep its fingers crossed that the Brooklyn Nets cut ties with Joe Johnson or the Minnesota Timberwolves send Kevin Martin packing. But, for now, this will do. Best-case scenario, Lee provides a late-season boon to what has been a mostly unimpressive Mavericks offense. Worst-case scenario, they grabbed a cheap flyer that won’t be around very long.