Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is waiting patiently to find out who he'll have on his roster. It's becoming increasingly apparent that Tyson Chandler, Caron Butler and J.J. Barea will be finding new homes.
When training camp opens Friday -- the same day that free agents can sign contracts -- Carlisle expects to have nine of his 10 players under contract on the practice floor. Rudy Fernandez is being delayed because of visa issues, but the club hopes he will be in town and ready to join the team Saturday.
"NBA rosters may not be settled for a while, so in a way we’re fortunate, we have 10 guys under contract," Carlisle said. "I would think that that’s in the upper tier of the league in guys that are signed. Hopefully we’ll have a couple other guys in here right away, I don’t know, we’ll see. But, we’re going to have to make the best of it and work with the situation that’s presented to us."
If Chandler, Barea and Butler leave, and DeShawn Stevenson could also be among the group, it would seem that Brendan Haywood would slide into the starting center spot he assumed when he first arrived with Butler and Stevenson in the 2010 deadline trade. Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones could be asked to step up to fill the backup point guard slot and Corey Brewer could become a key reserve behind Shawn Marion at small forward.
Those scenarios depend on who else Dallas nabs in free agency to round out the roster. They must fill at least 13 spots on the 15-man roster. Brian Cardinal and Peja Stojakovic are candidates in the Mavs' plan to acquire players on one-year deals.
"Look, this is a creative group of people here. We're going to find a way to compete at the highest level," Carlisle said. "That's just how we do business. That's one of the fun things about being involved in this organization. I'm anxious and excited about how things are going to unfold and there's a lot of things we don't know.
"The approach is going to be the same. We're not going to have the identical team back. We know that. And in time, we'll find out exactly what the roster is going to look like. In the meantime, there's a lot of anticipation. It'll be upon us very quickly."