After serving a four-game suspension, due to a guily plea in gun related charges, Raymond Felton is finally ready to step back onto the basketball court. The nine-year veteran out of the University of North Carolina is expected to make his debut in the Mavs backcourt tonight, his first game since being traded with Tyson Chandler to the Mavs this summer.
While he has an abundance of talent, most notably as a ball handler and passer, his work ethic has been the main subject of scrutiny dating back to 2011, where is was admittedly out of shape. After posting career highs in his first season (2010-11) with the New York Knicks (17.1 points, 9.0 assists), his numbers and more importantly his effort have steadily dropped. After posting career lows in points (9.7) and field goal percentage (39.5%) last year, just one year removed from a three-year, $10 million contract extension, Felton became expendable and was eventually shipped away to Dallas.
He’s clearly not a long term fit (no pun intended) in the Mavs backcourt with Jameer Nelson, Monta Ellis, Devin Harris and now JJ Barea on the roster leaving the Mavs and Rick Carlisle scrambling to find a proper role for him on this team.
While fans can only speculate how Felton will be utilized Dallas’ new, high powered offense, the Mavs may give him extended minutes on the floor in an effort to “showcase” him for a trade him, or at the very least put pressure on him to perform.
Long Term Plan
Expect Felton’s name to be continually bounced around between now and the February trade deadline. The biggest roadblock will be finding a team willing to take on the $8.9 million Felton is due over the next two seasons, including a player’s option for $4.5 million next year that he’s almost guaranteed to pick up.
For now, look for Rick Carlisle and the Mavs front office to be highly critical of Felton, to get a sense of just what they have in him and how hard he is willing to work to become a part of this team.
Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons, Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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