Jose Calderon: Mavs don't need a star center

The biggest catch in the Mavericks’ summer free-agency expedition is point guard Jose Calderon.

That isn’t by design, of course. When free agency opened, the Mavs hoped to talk Dwight Howard into coming to Dallas.

Howard, however, headed to Houston. The Mavs then opted not to offer Andrew Bynum a contract before he committed to the Cavaliers, scared away by his bad knees. The Mavs' starting center is to be determined, with stopgap candidate Samuel Dalembert meeting Thursday with the Mavs.

That isn’t too big of a concern to Calderon, who agreed to a four-year, $29 million deal to take the reins of Rick Carlisle’s flow offense.

“For sure, it’s important to have a big center,” Calderon said on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s “Fitzsimmons and Durrett” on Thursday. “But at the end of the day, the way coach plays and if you play the right way with a guy like Dirk (Nowitzki), it makes everything a little bit easier for everybody. If you play the right way, you may not need that big a star at the 5 position.

“You just need a guy who can complement Dirk, who can play defense and rebound the ball. Maybe you’re not looking at Dwight or Andrew Bynum like there were talks around there, but you mainly need a guy who can complement and can give you good work out there without being a star to make us a good team.”

Some other highlights from Calderon’s appearance:

What made him decide to sign with the Mavs?

“The truth is that I don’t know if there was exactly that many options there. Sometimes the offers come and go two hours later. It’s kind of a weird thing. I think there were several things I wanted to put into the balance to make a decision. There was the team, the franchise, the coach, the players -- playing with Dirk was something that was important for me -- the city, a little bit of everything.”

How does he envision his game fitting with Nowitzki’s?

“We know what Dirk can do, so I’m really happy to be here with him. Both of us can shoot the ball, so we’re going to put some problems out there on the defense. Those 2-on-2 situations are going to be a big thing for us, for sure.”

What makes the Mavs attractive to free agents?

“You’ve got an owner who really likes to win. When you know you’ve got somebody who is going to do whatever it takes to win, it makes you think about just coming to Dallas. You know he’s not going to wait 10 years to try to win. He’s going to always try to get the better opportunity out there. That’s what convinced me, and I think that’s what people ought to be thinking of.”

Does he consider it part of his job to be a mentor to rookie point guards Shane Larkin and Gal Mekel?

“I always try to help. I’m always going to put the team first. That’s the way it works, so I’m going to talk to them a lot. I’m going to learn from them, and they can learn from me everything they want. I’m going to always be open to questions. If they play point or whatever, I’m always going to try to do what’s best for the team and I always try to help everybody.”