Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY SportsRaymond Felton had the worst stats of his career last season, averaging 9.7 points and 5.6 assists.DALLAS — The Mavericks sadly bid farewell to Tyson Chandler a few years ago because they had their eyes on bigger prizes, such as Deron Williams and Chris Paul, a pair of All-Star point guards selected with the third and fourth picks in the 2005 draft.
A point guard who was the fifth pick in the 2005 draft is part of the price the Mavs paid to bring Chandler back to Dallas.
Raymond Felton, who is coming off the worst year of his career on and off the court, wasn’t included in the six-player trade with the New York Knicks because the Mavs wanted him. The Knicks insisted on dumping Felton in the deal with Chandler.
The Mavs, however, are hopeful that the 30-year-old Felton can get his career back on track in Dallas.
“I think we’ve had a lot of success over the years in guys that went through a hard year previously,” Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. “You look at Jerry Stackhouse when we acquired him. Here’s a guy that probably a lot of folks wouldn’t have touched. Nick Van Exel is another. You go down the line, we’ve done a pretty good job of bringing guys like that into the fold, having them buy in.
“Raymond has been through some tough times. It’s no secret that he’s made some mistakes and he wishes that he had them back. It’s no secret that he’s gone through some difficult times in New York. We certainly have the kind of locker room that has done good with those kind of players in the past.”
The 2013-14 season was a nightmare for Felton, who put up the worst numbers of his career, averaging 9.7 points and 5.6 assists while shooting 39.5 percent from the floor for an extremely disappointing Knicks team. His conditioning was a significant issue, as it has been occasionally throughout his career.
To make matters worse, Felton faced two felony gun charges after his estranged wife and her attorney turned his semiautomatic handgun over to authorities. (He recently made a plea deal to avoid jail time.)
It’s no surprise that Felton feels like the Knicks did him a favor by giving him a change of scenery.
“It’s just a fresh start for me,” Felton told ESPNNewYork.com. “I loved it here in New York. New York was great to me. The fans, but it’s just a fresh start. A lot of things happened last year. It’s going to be good to just put all that behind and just move on and start off fresh.”
Felton, whose contract includes a $3.95 player option for the 2015-16 season, is firmly in the Mavs’ plans next season. Other than hopefully re-signing Devin Harris, the Mavs don’t anticipate point guard being a priority position the rest of the offseason despite giving up sharp-shooting Jose Calderon in the deal with the Knicks.
Coach Rick Carlisle, who enhanced his reputation of getting the best out of players by his work with Monta Ellis last season, expressed optimism that Felton (career averages of 13.1 points and 6.5 assists) will return to productive form with the Mavs.
“I know him enough I think from my contact with him over the years to know that he’s a proud guy,” Carlisle said. “Guys like him that have pride generally bounce back when they have disappointing seasons. That’s what I look for from him. I’m excited and think he’ll be a motivated player.”