Mavericks to try out Rashad McCants
The Dallas Mavericks confirmed Tuesday that they are bringing former lottery pick Rashad McCants to Dallas for an audition that will include an opportunity to play in Friday's preseason finale against Houston.
Sources close to the situation, however, told ESPNDallas.com on Tuesday night that there is a better chance McCants winds up playing for the Mavericks' D-League affiliate in nearby Frisco than with the parent club.
There's always the possibility that McCants, in what little remains of training camp, plays so well that he forces the Mavs to change their thinking.
But the Texas Legends -- if McCants is ultimately waived Monday as appears likely -- would be eligible to take advantage of a new NBA rule that enables D-League teams to claim the rights to three players from the training camp roster of their NBA parent team who did not make the opening night roster.
McCants, according to sources, was planning to submit his name for the D-League draft this month. By signing with Dallas this week, McCants removes himself from the D-League draft pool and must play for the expansion Legends -- co-owned by Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson -- if he wants to be a D-Leaguer this season and they want him.
The Boston Celtics earlier Tuesday signed rookie forward Tiny Gallon to a similar non-guaranteed deal, with Hoopsworld.com reporting that Gallon -- who was waived by Milwaukee early in camp even though the Bucks drafted him in the second round in June -- is expected to land with Boston's D-League affiliate.
NBA teams are required to reduce their roster to a maximum of 15 players Monday, on the eve of opening night. Sources said the Mavs are likely to keep Brian Cardinal and Steve Novak in the 14th and 15th spots after initial indications that they might keep only one of those two.
Both Cardinal and Novak possess non-guaranteed contracts, which don't become guaranteed until early January. That means both are at risk of being jettisoned at any time if a roster spot is needed.
Guards Dee Brown and Adam Haluska are the other players in Mavs camp on non-guaranteed deals, meaning that the Nancy Lieberman-coached Legends will have the ability to claim both players' D-League rights as well when they are released Monday by Dallas. McCants, 26, was the 14th overall pick in the 2005 draft and has averaged 10.0 points in four NBA seasons. But he did not play in the league last season and has been largely avoided by NBA teams for months amid concerns about his willingness to fit into a team structure and various injury setbacks.
Yet it is generally assumed that McCants would quickly earn another NBA shot if he plays well in the D-League. And because of where he was drafted and the national championship he helped North Carolina win in 2005, McCants would give the first-year Legends one of the D-League's most marketable names if he ultimately winds up in Frisco.
Marc Stein covers the NBA for ESPN.com and is a regular contributor to ESPNDallas.com.