After Minimal Contribution in Miami, Can Erick Dampier Resume Career in 2011-12?

Karthik TadisinaSenior Writer INovember 13, 2011

Erick Dampier.
Erick Dampier.Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Erick Dampier was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in the 1996 NBA Draft, but only spent one season with the team before being traded to the Golden State Warriors in 1997.

Dampier spent seven years with the Golden State Warriors and averaged a career-high 12.3 points and 12.0 rebounds per game during the 2003-04 NBA season, his “contract” year.

After seven years with Golden State, Dampier spent six years as a member of the Dallas Mavericks after arriving in a sign-and-trade involving seven other players (signed a seven-year, $73 million dollar contract) in 2004.

Although Dampier saw his scoring and minutes dip ever since arriving in Dallas, he was a big body that took up space and filled the lane. He was also a decent defender even though he used to end up in foul trouble, leading the Mavericks to shore up their depth at the center position every year before making a championship run.

It ultimately got to the point where the Mavericks decided that they needed to bring in another big man and dealt Dampier and his expiring contract ($13 million non-guaranteed) along with Eduardo Najera and Matt Carroll to the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for Tyson Chandler and Alexis Ajinca.

After being traded to the Bobcats, Dampier was eventually released by Charlotte after not being able to find another trade option, and rather decided to clear some salary cap for the future.

As a result, Dampier became an unrestricted free agent, and despite multiple suitors, Dampier eventually settled in on the Miami Heat. Dampier would provide some depth for the Miami Heat who looked to add pieces around LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh acquired in the offseason. 

Erick Dampier is currently an unrestricted free agent after spending most of the 2010-11 NBA season on the bench and in a reserve role. At the age of 36, and after 15 NBA seasons, will Dampier accept a similar role next season?

Due to his lack of playing time this year, along with his average performance in Dallas and his value being down, signing for the minimum may be his only real option.