Mavericks sign free agent G Travis Best

Updated: August 22, 2003, 2:01 PM ET

DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks found their backup point guard Thursday, rescuing Travis Best from the Miami Heat.

Best signed a free agent deal at undisclosed terms to join the Mavericks, who made it to the Western Conference finals last season but recently traded guard Nick Van Exel, the main spark in their playoff run.

In 72 games for Miami last season, Best made a career-high 52 starts and averaged 8.4 points and 3.5 assists. Over an eight-year career with Indiana, Chicago and Miami, Best has averaged 8.2 points and 3.8 assists in 571 games.

Best is a far different player than Van Exel - a point guard with a scoring mentality who was the Mavs' second-leading scorer in the playoffs last season at 19.5 points per contest - but a good option to give Steve Nash a breather.

The 5-11, 185-pound Best leaves an organization that missed the playoffs for the second straight season and has done nothing significant this summer. The Heat are trying to land Lamar Odom after signing him to an offer sheet.

In a deal finally consummated Monday, the Mavs landed forward Antawn Jamison, power forward Danny Fortson, small forward Chris Mills and guard Jiri Welsch from Golden State.

Dallas sent Van Exel, center Evan Eschmeyer, forward Popeye Jones, veteran point guard Avery Johnson and French forward Antoine Rigaudeau to Golden State.

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index