Mavs see Jefferson as bargain bench piece

If Mark Cuban can invest in a time machine, Richard Jefferson would be a heck of a fit as the Mavericks’ starting small forward.

But that’s far from the plan next season for Jefferson, who agreed to a one-year, minimum-salary deal with the Mavs.

Jefferson started for a bad team in Utah last season, averaging 10.1 points per game and shooting 40.9 percent from 3-point range. Unless a lot of things go wrong, Jefferson’s role will be much smaller with the Mavs.

Look at Jefferson as a bargain-priced replacement for Wayne Ellington, who didn’t play much for the Mavs last season and was included in the deal with the New York Knicks earlier this summer. At a minimal price, Jefferson can provide the Mavs’ bench a perimeter threat and willing defender.

Jefferson clearly isn’t the same guy who was once a 20-plus-point scorer for the then-New Jersey Nets. At 34 years old, the Mavs believe he can be a bargain-priced role player.