Dallas Mavericks owner Donald Carter is "optimistic" that Adrian Dantley will join the team in time for tonight's NBA game against the San Antonio Spurs, a team spokesman says.

Carter made the remark to team officials after meeting late Sunday in Washington with Dantley and his agent, David Falk, Mavericks spokesman Kevin Sullivan said early today.Sullivan said Carter called Mavericks General Manager Norm Sonju early Monday after meeting with Dantley and Falk, saying he was "optimistic" that Dantley will join the team in time for the Spurs game.

Carter told Sonju that Dantley does want to play for the Mavericks, but added that Dantley did not agree to return to Dallas in Carter's private plane. Carter had earlier expressed optimisim that he could bring Dantley back to Dallas with him.

A Dallas television station, WFAA-TV, reported that Carter and Dantley, met late Sunday at the Marriott Hotel, where Carter went after flying in his private plane to the nation's capital.

Earlier, Carter said that he wasn't upset yet that Dantley failed to report for the Mavericks' game against the Houston Rockets on Saturday, which cost Dantley 1-82nd of his salary, or about $15,000.

Dantley, angered when Detroit traded him to the Mavericks for Mark Aguirre and a 1991 draft pick, has missed two games since the trade last Wednesday.