Who? Mike James, Jermaine O’Neal or Amar’e Stoudemire to the Mavs

Note: This post originally appeared on MavsFanatic.com

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Jerome Miron/USA TODAY; Ed Szczepanski/USA TODAY; Associated Press

While we all patiently wait for Jermaine O’Neal’s decision of whether or not he will be joining the Mavs (which could come down any day now), another big man is being linked to the Mavs — Amar’e Stoudemire. According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the 32 year-old power forward (6-10, 245) will use the All-Star break to determine whether or not he will reach out to the Knicks front office for a buyout of the final year of his five-year, $100 million contract. A buyout would allow the Knicks to save some cash in a mutual agreement by both parties to go their separate ways, allowing Stoudemire to join another team for a playoff run if an agreement is reached by March 1.

This season, Stoudemire has averaged 12.2 points and 7.0 rebounds in 32 games this season while playing limited minutes due to ankle, wrist and knee injuries. He’s a shell of his former self offensively and continues to lack the aptitude and attentiveness to be a credible force on the defensive end of the floor.

Roster Space

Before we get all excited about the potential addition of Amar’e on the Mavs’ roster, the timing may be one of the biggest roadblocks working against them. It’s likely we’ll finally know the fate of Jermaine O’Neal by the end of next week, just before the All-Star break. He’s already made it clear he intends to come back to the NBA this season and the likelihood remains that O’Neal will be joining his hometown Dallas Mavericks, pushing the Mavs roster to the 15-player limit.

Additionally, Mark Cuban has also stated that he is also looking to sign another point guard to a 10-day contract with Rajon Rondo out indefinitely after suffering orbital and nasal fractures in a collision with forward Richard Jefferson in last Saturday’s win over the Orlando Magic.

While it has yet to be determined how long Rondo will be out, you’d have to think Carlisle and the Mavs brass want to ensure that figuring out the point guard situation is the main priority. In the event that Rondo does need surgery in order to help his fracture heal (which we should know about soon) and is out for extended period of time, expect the Mavs to sign another point guard — quite possibility 39-year-old veteran Mike James who is averaging 14.6 points and 5.6 assists in the D-League with the Texas Legends this season and is familiar with Rick Carlisle’s system. Yes, that concerns me just as much as the next guy, but this is reality.

As a result, this would continue to kick the Jermaine-O’Neal-to-the-Mavs scenario even further down the road until the timing is right or he choses to re-up with the Golden State Warriors, which seems pretty unlikely. It’s also possible the Mavs could waive another player, possibly Ricky Ledo or Greg Smith, in order to make room for both Amar’e and Jermaine.

The first domino to fall in the Mavs mid-season free agency period begins and ends with the long-term prognosis of Rajon Rondo. Until then, it’s all a guessing game – from what point guard the Mavs may or may not sign to O’Neal’s drawn out signing to Amar’e’s fit with the Mavs. Stay tuned.

Rajon Rondo Update

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