Stackhouse decides to stay with Mavericks

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DALLAS (AP) – Jerry Stackhouse is sticking with Dallas, agreeing to a three-year deal to remain the Mavericks’ sixth man.

Stackhouse agreed Thursday night to a deal that will pay him more than the midlevel exception, which is expected to be set at roughly $6 million. While details were still being finalized Friday, the contract can’t become official until the NBA’s signing period begins Wednesday.

“It’s great news for me and my family,” Stackhouse said. “This place has become home for me.”

The 32-year-old Stackhouse was a free agent for the first time and could have gone for one last big payday and another chance to be a starter. Instead, he was comfortable with his setup in Dallas and stayed true to his vow of re-signing.

Stackhouse said “the teams that had money had interest, but they had more pressing needs.” He didn’t want to wait for them and he also didn’t like the idea of starting over. The Mavericks are his fourth team and would be the one he’s with the longest if he plays out this contract; he’s already played three seasons in Dallas.

“At this point in my career, I don’t want to be part of young guys who don’t have a realistic chance of winning,” he said. “Here in Dallas, I have a chance to share my experiences good and bad, from 12 seasons in the NBA, and at the same time we’re fighting for something. … We still feel good about our chances.”

Stackhouse helped the Mavs reach the NBA finals in 2006, then was part of their franchise-record 67 wins this past season. Although that feat was overshadowed by a first-round ousting by Golden State, it did nothing to sour Stackhouse on the club.

“I was part of it, so what am I going to be sour about?” he said. “We made our bed and now we have to lay in it. Maybe next year we’ll have a little bit different approach.”

When Dallas acquired Stackhouse before the 2004-05 season, there were questions whether a player who’d been the focus of every team he’d been on could handle being a role player. But he embraced the chance to extend his career and play for one of the league’s best teams after years of struggling to make the playoffs in Philadelphia, Detroit and Washington.

His scoring has dropped from a career-best 29.8 points in 2000-01 to a career-low of 12 this past season.

Yet the two-time All-Star is still capable of scoring in bunches. Last season, he posted his best 3-point shooting percentage (38.3) and his second-best field goal percentage (42.8). Stackhouse also provides strong leadership in the locker room and has developed a close relationship with Dirk Nowitzki, the league MVP.

This is the first move the Mavs have made in free agency. Forward P.J. Brown, who is pondering retirement, is among the other players the team is considering.

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