Dallas and free agent point guard Jose Calderon have an agreement on a four-year, $28 million contract, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Friday night. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because free agent contracts can't be discussed publicly before Wednesday, when they can first be signed.
The agreement with Calderon came hours after Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Howard had told Dallas he planned to sign elsewhere. Howard later wrote on Twitter that he has decided to join the Houston Rockets.
"We gave it a shot and it didn't work out," Cuban wrote about Howard in an email. "It was truly an experience. So it's on to Plan B."
The first step in that plan is Calderon, who spent his first seven seasons with Toronto before the Raptors traded him to Detroit in January. The 6-foot-3 Spaniard has career averages of 10.1 points and 7.2 assists per game.
Howard's decision meant the Mavericks missed out on pairing aging star Dirk Nowitzki with a big name in free agency for the second straight summer since declining to bring back key pieces from their first championship team in 2011. Deron Williams, who grew up in the Dallas area, chose to stay with the Brooklyn Nets last summer.
The difference this year is Dallas planned to move forward with something more permanent after consecutive seasons of rosters filled with expiring or one-year contracts.
One of those players last season was point guard Darren Collison, who was given a chance to take over the offence but instead was twice benched in favour of aging veterans. He ended up being a change-of-pace replacement late in the season, which ended with Dallas out of the playoffs for the first time since 2000.
Dallas still lacks a shooting guard and a centre for its starting lineup. O.J. Mayo and Chris Kaman were planned for those roles last season, and neither is expected back.
Calderon's best season was 2008-09 when he averaged career highs of 12.8 points and 8.9 assists. But that was a year after consecutive seasons of first-round playoff exits, when Calderon was primarily a backup.