After failing in their bid to sign free-agent big man Udonis Haslem, the Dallas Mavericks turned to a trade to add depth to their front line. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports the Mavs landed Tyson Chandler and Alexis Ajinca, two centers, from the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for Erick Dampier's expiring contract, Matt Carroll, and Eduardo Najera. Wojnarowski says the two teams are now on the phone with the league office "to finalize [the] deal."
Chandler, the centerpiece to the deal, is a nine-year defense-and-rebounding specialist who averaged 6.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in 22.8 minutes per game for the Bobcats last season. Though he's an upgrade over Dampier, he is an injury risk, having missed 68 games over the last two seasons. He and Brendan Haywood, whom Dallas re-signed last week, will form a stout defensive front. He is owed $12.6 million this season, the last of his deal.
The Bobcats made Ajinca, now 22, the 20th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. In 37 games at the NBA level, the seven-footer has averaged 2.2 points and 0.9 rebounds in just over five minutes per game, on 38% shooting. He fared much better in the D-League, posting per-game averages of 13.7 points, 7.3 boards, and 2.7 blocked shots. He showed flashes of improvement in last week's Orlando Pro Summer League.
The deal costs Dallas Dampier, perhaps the league's most desirable trade chip due to his $13 million deal, which is fully unguaranteed; Charlotte can merely waive him and pocket the savings. Carroll and Najera played sparingly in Dallas last season, appearing in 25 and 33 games, respectively. The deal sends Carroll back to the Bobcats, from whom the Mavs acquired him in January 2009 in the DeSagana Diop trade. He is owed $11.7 million over the next three seasons, which makes losing him a plus for Dallas.