DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks are still waiting for their new players to get on the court.
Free agent Vince Carter was a spectator at practice Monday, waiting to sign a contract for what is expected to a mid-level exception of $3 million this season. Lamar Odom, the 6-foot-10 forward acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers, wasn't here yet.
Less than two weeks before the NBA champion Mavericks play their season opener with a Christmas Day rematch against the Miami Heat, coach Rick Carlisle still hasn't had a full team for practice.
"It's important, but logistics are logistics. We've got to submit ourselves to what the rules are. If you trade for a guy, you can't just Star Trek beam him here for practice," Carlisle said. "We will engage these guys as quickly and as effectively as we can. Before you know it, we'll be another week into this and they'll be right in the middle of it."
Carlisle expects Carter and Odom to both take part in the team's media day activities Tuesday.
Carter, who played last season for Phoenix, was expected to clear waivers by Tuesday. That would allow the 34-year-old, eight-time NBA All-Star to sign with the Mavericks and reunite with Jason Kidd, his teammate for three seasons in New Jersey.
Though he was only watching, Carter was also at the Mavericks' practice Sunday. That was when the team confirmed they had acquired Odom, last season's Sixth Man of the Year, without losing a player in return.
"We love the deal. ... It's a very positive deal for us because we're talking about a player as diversified skill-wise as anybody in the league right now, particularly given his size," Rick Carlisle said. "He's always been a really difficult matchup for us, was a key part of their team and we really feel like he'll fit in well here."
The Lakers get an $8.9 million trade exception for the 32-year-old Odom, who is going into the third year of a four-year deal. He has averaged 14.6 points and 8.9 rebounds in 829 games over 12 NBA seasons, four with the Clippers, one in Miami and the last seven with the Lakers.
Kobe Bryant certainly wasn't happy, especially Odom being sent so cheaply to the Mavericks, who swept the Lakers in last season's playoffs.
Mavericks center Brendan Haywood shrugged off Bryant's reaction.
"My reaction is we're very happy to get Lamar," Carlisle said.
Veteran forward Brian Cardinal joined the team for practice Monday after re-signing with Dallas. He will get the veteran minimum of just over $1.3 million. Cardinal joined the Mavericks last year as a free agent, when the 6-foot-8 forward averaged 2.6 points, 1.1 rebounds and 10.8 minutes in 56 games.
He has played 412 games over 11 seasons with Detroit, Washington, Golden State, Memphis, Minnesota and Dallas.
"I'm excited to be back, I'm exciting to be with these guys and this group," Cardinal said. "I missed a few days, but it's excited to be back with these guys and be out there on the court."
Odom helps Dallas recover from the departure of center Tyson Chandler, who went to the New York Knicks in a sign-and-trade deal that opened an exception to get Odom.
But the Mavericks expect him to be more than just a replacement for Chandler.
"He's a guy that's 6-10 that can do everything on the floor, extremely athletic and skilled," Haywood said. "He can play the 3, 4, 5, 2, he can even play the point and initiate the offense. So I think Lamar definitely helps this team out a lot."
Odom joins what could be one of the NBA's best frontcourts when he's paired with NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion.
"He can play every position on the floor in my opinion, so look he's going to have a lot of things to learn our perimeter positions and our big positions," Carlisle said. "But he'll do it and he won't have a problem with it, because he's just got that good a feel for the game.
"We believe that there are a lot of possibilities with Lamar," he said. "He can score, pass, make plays, defend, rebound, all those things are really healthy for diversity of your team. Without him being here and having a chance to do things on the floor, I can't give you exact answers, but I'm excited about the possibilities."
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