Mavericks alumnus Jerry Stackhouse is arguably the most prominent free agent in the league still looking for a job.
But that's largely because the 34-year-old, twice an All-Star, is determined to wait for a firm offer from a certain playoff team.
Sources close to the situation say that Stackhouse was promptly called by the Houston Rockets earlier this month when the Rockets -- after inviting Rashad McCants to Rockets camp on a non-guaranteed contract -- decided they could not go through with their intended signing of McCants because the swingman was sidelined by an abdominal injury just before camp opened.
The Rockets, though, wanted Stackhouse to come to camp to compete with three other players leading contender and former Mavs teammate Pops Mensah-Bonsu along with summer-league guards Will Conroy and Garrett Temple -- for their final roster spot. The combination of that stipulation and Houston's expected slide into the lottery, with Yao Ming expected to miss the entire season and Tracy McGrady facing an uncertain return from knee surgery, prompted Stackhouse to pass.
Atlanta, Denver and Miami are said to be three situations that greatly intrigue Stackhouse after he worked out some with the Hawks late in the offseason and with both the Nuggets and Heat known to have a need at his position. Yet all three of those teams would like to carry 13 players this season instead of the maximum 15 because of luxury-tax concerns and/or want players with non-guaranteed contracts at the end of their rosters to maintain maximum flexibility.
Stackhouse, McCants and Wally Szczerbiak would appear to be the three most accomplished NBA swingmen who remain unsigned. Chances are, though, that Stackhouse is bound to get a call he wants to take before long, once injuries start piling up or when teams' holes become more glaring than they are in mid-October, when coaches and executives are generally fond of their squads.
Stackhouse auditioned for New York over the summer and insists that he has fully recovered from the plantar fasciitis that conspired to limit him to just 10 games with Dallas last season, which was followed by Stackhouse's inclusion in the four-team deal in July that brought Shawn Marion to the Mavs. The Memphis Grizzlies wound up with Stackhouse when they were recruited to help facilitate the Marion trade and paid $2 million to buy out his $7 million expiring contract for this season.
"I'm just happy to be healthy and able to compete again," Stackhouse said in August. "That's the most important thing. I'm just happy to get back to play. . . I think teams know what I bring to the table when I'm healthy."