Jason Terry had a rough first year in Dallas. The then-27-year-old point guard, who was still being mislabeled as a “point guard,” was destined to average a career-low 12.4 points per game while starting just 57 games. At the time, that was also a career-low for the future NBA Sixth Man of the Year.
Mavericks coach Don Nelson was unwilling to wait for his new guard to blossom, however, and he was not keen on changing his coaching style, either. So according to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Nelson tried to trade Terry to the Utah Jazz for Raul Lopez early in the 2004-05 season.
Fortunately for Mavericks fans, Cuban told Nelson he was crazy.
“I remember having to tell Nellie that, ‘No, we’re not trading him to Utah for Raul Lopez,'” Cuban told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Because Nellie told me the deal was done. The point being that Jet went through some tough times when he first got here. And he got better and he grew with the team.”
Lopez played a 113 games in the NBA and averaged 6.5 points per game before his career was derailed by knee injuries. But the Terry-for-Lopez deal was not as outlandish at the time as it appears in retrospect. Lopez was the supposed heir to John Stockton in Utah and his per-minute numbers as a rookie suggested he could provide about 12 points and eight assists per game in starter’s minutes — statistics that Terry would not match that season.
As Terry takes on his old team Wednesday at the TD Garden, Dallas fans have to be thankful that Cuban nixed that alleged deal. Terry finally came into his own as an off-guard in Dallas and helped the Mavericks win a championship in 2011.
Photo via Facebook/Jason Terry