DALLAS -- The Mavericks' center position has hit rock bottom with Brendan Haywood serving as the anchor.
Haywood was benched for the start of the second half of Thursday's Game 3 blowout loss just as he was for Game 2. His minutes have dwindled from 19 in Game 1 to 10 in Game 2 to seven in Game 3, his lowest total of the season outside a game at Oklahoma City that he left in the first minute with an injury.
On Thursday, Haywood started strong with an offensive rebound and a putback, but that was it. He finished his seven minutes with three points and two rebounds. In the three games he's averaged 3.0 points on 27.3 percent shooting (3-of-11 from the floor) and 3.0 rebounds.
"Look, it’s tough, it’s tough," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "He’s an important guy to us and I’m not saying we’re bailing on him or anything like that. We’re going to look at the film and see what’s what. He did some good things early in the game, but we dug a hole and we needed a different kind of player in there. Look, he’ll be ready to play on Saturday as well."
Haywood had no interest in talking about his brief stint after the game. He dressed and quickly left the locker room.
The 7-footer has been a huge disappointment as Tyson Chandler's replacement in the starting lineup. His minutes dwindled in the final month of the season and he certainly has not earned back minutes. Ian Mahinmi logged 16 minutes in Game 3 with Brandan Wright playing eight more minutes of ineffective basketball.
The bigger question with Haywood is what the Mavs will do with him after the season. He still has three guaranteed season remaining at about $28 million. The Mavs have the option to amnesty him this summer and then seek a replacement.