Terry to make emotional return to Dallas

Terry to make emotional return to Dallas
March 21, 2013, 7:15 pm
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Jason Terry can be an emotional player at times, but that part of who he is takes on a greater and more significant meaning Friday night.

He returns to Dallas for the first time since he and the Mavericks could not come to terms on a new deal this past summer when Terry became a free agent.

Players come and go from team to team all the time in the NBA.

But Terry's departure from Dallas, while not at all surprising, is anything but standard fare.

And the first signs of that are likely to come at some point in the first half Friday night when Terry checks into the game for the Boston Celtics.

“I hope they give him a standing ovation,’’ Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told reporters. “He deserves it. He’ll be a Maverick for life. He’s part of the family.’’

Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle was close to Terry as well, on and off the court.

"Our families developed a closeness because our daughters were in the same class together in school," Carlisle said. "And so, he's Mavericks royalty. That's clear."

Although Terry signed a three-year deal with Boston during the offseason, he knows that his legacy in the NBA is intertwined with his time in Dallas which includes an NBA title in 2011.

And while he was noticeably dejected following Boston's loss at New Orleans on Wednesday, there's no mistaking that this is a game that Terry has been looking forward to for quite some time.

"I had a great time in Dallas, and I still have a lot of friends and people I care about there, both in the city and within the organization," Terry told CSNNE.com earlier this season. "But that's part of my past. My present is here with the Boston Celtics. And my mindset ... is the same as it is every game, to win. That's what it's all about."

No need to worry about the Mavericks taking it easy on him, either.

"We'll be happy to see him," Carlisle said, "but we know how good he is and we'll be game planning for him, too."

Although Dirk Nowitzki has been the franchise's best player, Terry stands out as arguably one of its most important because of his impact which could be felt on so many levels.

"On and off the floor, he was a great ambassador for the city, always busy in the community," Nowitzki said. "And on the court, we all know what he did for us. One of the best clutch shooters I've played with. Obviously, he was a big reason we won the championship years ago."

During that championship run, Terry made headlines not for his play but what he said about LeBron James during the 2011 NBA Finals.

Trailing the Heat 2-1 in the series at that time, Terry called out James prior to Game 4 of the Finals.

"Let's see if (James) can defend me like that for seven games," Terry said at the time.

The Mavericks went on to win the next three games for the franchise's first NBA title.

"He was a prime time, great player in the clutch," Carlisle said of Terry who spent eight seasons in Dallas. "Guys like that always distinguish themselves. It'll be emotional, I'm sure for him, for the fans."

And while Terry will come in looking to play well against his former team, he'll be even more motivated coming off one of his worst games of the season.

In Boston's 87-86 loss at New Orleans on Wednesday, Terry was scoreless in 20 minutes of action as he missed all five of his shots from the field.

It was only the second time this season (Jan. 14 vs Charlotte) Terry has failed to score for the Celtics.

"I'm about to get more aggressive. I already know what time it is. Anytime you have a game like I had tonight, it's time to turn up the aggresion level," Terry said. "I can't wait until the third, fourth quarter and just think I can get it going. So that's my responsibility. The team is counting on me. And I told them this one's (New Orleans loss) on me. I'll definitely make up for it on Friday."

But there will come a time when there won't be any games to bounce back from.

Terry, 35, is more than aware that while still productive, there's no telling how many more years he'll be able to play in the NBA.

Doc Rivers has said on many occasions that Terry has all the makings of a future NBA coach. A future in broadcasting is another option he'll eventually consider, too.

And then there's the possibility of having some type of role with the Mavericks as well, something that Cuban and Carlisle have hinted at in the past.

“Basketball is a short part of your life, and then there’s the rest of your life,’’ Cuban said. “Hopefully we’ll be part of Jet’s (life) after he retires.’’