Will Nick Calathes play in NBA next year?

Nick Calathes, the combo guard who spent the last two seasons playing in Greece, remains in the Mavericks’ plans.

The question is when Calathes would join the Mavericks.

Dallas drafted Calathes in the second round of the 2009 draft, well aware that he had already signed a lottery-like contract with Greek power Panathinaikos. At the time, they thought they were getting first-round value with the 45th overall pick. They still believe that to be true – especially after seeing Calathes score 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting in a Euroleague title game win -- but the Mavs aren’t sure whether it’d be wise for Calathes to begin his NBA career next season.

“He’s made real progress,” Mavs president of basketball Donnie Nelson said. “I think he’s put himself in position, whether it’s this year or down the line. I think he’s a real good developing player.”

There are two things complicating the situation with Calathes, who spent some time around the Mavericks during their championship run. They would have to pay a $500,000 buyout for Calathes to come to the NBA next season. Plus, it’d be preferable for Calathes play in the NBA summer league before his Dallas debut.

“We don’t have that luxury this summer,” Nelson said, referring to the summer league being cancelled due to NBA labor issues.

There would likely be more of a sense of urgency to bring Calathes to Dallas if J.J. Barea departed in free agency. Calathes is at least a consideration in the Mavs’ long-term plan to eventually replace Jason Kidd.

“He’s certainly a candidate,” Nelson said.