The Dallas Mavericks agreed Tuesday to a two-year, $4.2 million contract with Devean George, bolstering their defense with a three-time NBA champion capable of competing for a starting job.
George was headed to Dallas for a physical that would seal the deal, which included a player option for the second season.
"He's exactly what we were looking for -- a hard-nosed, playoff-tested, defensive-minded winner," said Donnie Nelson, Dallas' president of basketball operations. "The market is a little bit soft this summer for whatever reason and we were flat-out lucky to get him."
George was on the league champs his first three seasons, coming off the bench for Los Angeles Lakers teams led by Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. He's remained a key rotation player in Los Angeles for the last four years.
An ankle injury limited him to 15 games two seasons ago, when the Lakers missed the playoffs. He played 71 games last season, averaging 6.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and almost a steal per game in 21.7 minutes. That's slightly more productive than Adrian Griffin was as a starter for Dallas last season.
Whether Mavs coach Avery Johnson wants a defensive-oriented swingman in his starting lineup remains to be seen. He went with dual point guards Jason Terry and Devin Harris during the NBA finals.
Regardless, the role is still a big part of Johnson's system, especially now that he has three guys for it who can all be decent scorers, too. In addition to George, who has a reliable outside shot, the Mavericks drafted Maurice Ager and signed Greg Buckner.
"It's a great situation for Devean," said his agent, Mark Bartelstein. "Avery is a guy that puts a premium on players who can defend and play with great energy and enthusiasm. That's Devean. The things Devean does best are what Avery covets."
The Mavs' offseason shopping spree is almost done. The last piece is a third-string power forward to play behind Dirk Nowitzki and newly acquired Austin Croshere. Dallas may also seek extensions for Nowitzki and small forward Josh Howard.