4. Erick Dampier
The Mavs signed Dampier to a seven-year $73 million in 2004. He was coming off a career year with the Warriors where the 6’11 big man averaged 12.3 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks in 32.5 minutes per game. He never came close to matching those numbers in Dallas.
Dampier was the starting center next to Dirk Nowitzki for most of the next six seasons. His best year came immediately after the Mavericks signed him, and Dampier had declined by the time he was traded in 2010. The 6’11 big man was 35 years old when he was sent to Charlotte in a package for Tyson Chandler.
It would not have been easy to trade him, but the Mavericks held on far too long. No team was eager to take on his contract, and Dallas reached the NBA Finals in 2006 with Dampier in the rotation. He was a strong rebounder and rim protector that set productive screens. There was plenty to be desired, but the 6’11 big man was not a complete negative.
Erick Dampier was best suited as a backup center, and the Dallas Mavericks started him next to the legendary Dirk Nowitzki for six straight years. The franchise needed to do better, and they simply held onto the veteran center for far too long after giving him one of the worst contracts in franchise history.