James’ second 10-day contract expired after Monday night’s win over the New Orleans Pelicans, when he started in place of injured Tyson Chandler. The team had to either commit to James for the rest of the season or allow him to be a free agent, and the decision was made weeks ago to keep the former second-round pick.
James, who will make the veteran’s minimum, has averaged 4.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 17.5 minutes per game since signing with the Mavs on Feb. 11. James, who played in China this season after being the Mavs’ final preseason cut, was singled out for praise by coach Rick Carlisle after Monday’s win.
“He was plus-23 and didn’t score a point,” Carlisle said. “He’s another guy that plays with a lot of energy and does a lot of good things at both ends even if he’s not scoring. I think it’s more than noteworthy. We need guys that can step in like he did tonight in the absence of Tyson and do a lot of little things to help us win. What we did tonight was very important for us.”