Terry wants to make Butler comfortable

Updated: February 15, 2010, 10:46 AM ET
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jason Terry will welcome Caron Butler to the Dallas Mavericks by returning to the bench.

Terry said before Sunday night's All-Star Game that Butler will be the Mavericks' starting shooting guard after arriving in a seven-player blockbuster trade with the Washington Wizards.

Terry, the league's Sixth Man of the Year last season, moved into the starting lineup last month after struggling and has since regained his shooting touch. Terry said he talked with coach Rick Carlisle over the weekend and agreed that that the Mavericks are better off with him coming off the bench.

"I've been there," Terry said after playing wounded soldier Sgt. William Moleon in a game of EA Sports NBA Live that was broadcast on the massive video screens at Cowboys Stadium. "Why would you make a guy like that come in and make a huge adjustment? He's already making an adjustment to a new city. We want to make him as comfortable as we can to make the process as smooth as we can."

Terry's scoring numbers have dipped significantly since last season, as he's averaging 17.1 points on 44 percent shooting. But his production in 11 games since moving into the starting lineup (19.7 points, 47 percent shooting) is slightly better than his Sixth Man of the Year numbers.

"That got my rhythm right," Terry said of starting. "For some reason or another, I was out of rhythm. Getting back in the lineup, it got me back going.

"I'm ready, so coming back off the bench is not going to be a problem for me because now I feel like I'm in rhythm. We'll see how it goes, but I'll do whatever this team needs me to do to be successful. I believe that for the better of our team with Caron now, that's to come off the bench."

Butler will still have to make an adjustment, shifting from small forward to shooting guard in the starting lineup. However, president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson indicated Saturday night that the majority of Butler's minutes would still come at small forward with Shawn Marion playing more power forward.

"You've got to believe our best lineup is going to be us three out there together with Dirk [Nowitzki] and Jason Kidd," Terry said. "That's going to be the lineup that maybe finishes a lot of games."

Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.

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