They also believe he has potential to develop into much more than that.
"He's got an opportunity to help us this year," coach Rick Carlisle said. "This is one of those situations where, at this point, if we can get a guy who can help us situationally or if he even ends up playing more, if he can help us get one stop at the right time, it's a good move for us."
Brewer, a 6-foot-9, 188-pound swingman who was the seventh overall pick in the 2007 draft, drew interest from about a dozen teams after receiving a buyout from the New York Knicks this week, days after moving from Minnesota in the Carmelo Anthony trade.
Carlisle said other teams offered more money than the Mavericks. A sourced told ESPN 103.3 FM's Jeff "Skin" Wade that the deal is for an average of $2.484 million over three years. The breakdown is $2.3 million in 2010-11 (prorated), $2.48 million in 2011-12 and $2.688 million in the last season.
Brewer, who turns 25 on Saturday, fills a void for the Mavericks as a long, tenacious wing defender. He could play a key role in playoff series against the Lakers' Kobe Bryant, Spurs' Manu Ginobili or Thunder's Kevin Durant.
"He's different in terms of his body type than any guy that we have," Carlisle said. "He's a deceptively tall kid, has got long arms. I think probably his tenacity is as, or more, important than any of those other attributes."
Carlisle also pointed out that Brewer has a winning pedigree despite having spent the last three-plus seasons on a Western Conference bottom-feeder in Minnesota. Brewer starred for two NCAA title teams at Florida, earning Most Outstanding Player honors in the 2007 Final Four.
"If we didn't like his upside and what he's done in his career to this point, we wouldn't be pursuing him like we have," Carlisle said. "It's a very good move for the franchise, both short- and long-term. We're talking about a young kid that's got a chance to continue to get better."
Tim MacMahon is a reporter and columnist for ESPNDallas.com.