The Mavericks would have to wait 30 days before re-signing Gooden, who would be free to negotiate with other teams during that time. However, the Mavs would like for Gooden to return.
Gooden struggled defensively as a center, which is one of the reasons the Mavs pursued the seven-player deal with the Wizards that landed big man Brendan Haywood. But the Mavs could miss Gooden's scoring punch off the bench.
The Wizards are Gooden's eighth team in eight seasons, but he left Dallas on excellent terms. The Mavs appreciated the professionalism of Gooden, who accepted his role as a reserve after preseason talk that he might start most games at center.
"Drew did a great job," owner Mark Cuban said Saturday night. "He laid it out there every game for us to try to fill in as a 5. Going into the season we thought that would work and it just didn’t play out as planned."