Mavericks center Erick Dampier: 'Hopefully I'll be here next year&#039

PLANO – Mavericks center Erick Dampier is working on his conditioning
in preparation for next season. What remains to be worked out is where
he will be playing.

Dampier said he wants to return for a seventh season with the Mavericks.
But with a $13 million contract for next season not guaranteed, he
knows that could be a long shot.

"I’ve enjoyed it here," Dampier said Tuesday. "It’s been a great run,
for the guys and for myself. I could continue playing with these guys
and have a great career here. Come July 1, we’ll all get together and
see what happens and hopefully I’ll be here next year."

Dampier can’t escape questions about his future. On Tuesday, he spoke with children at the Mavs Summer Hoop Camp at Collin College in Plano. The second question posed to him after inviting inquiries from the kids:

"Are you going to be here next year?"

"Hopefully I’ll be back," Dampier said, laughing. "I’m still trying to work that out."

Dampier, 6-11, 265, is recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. Having also suffered a finger injury, he was limited to 55 games last season, his fewest since 2000-01 with Golden State. He averaged 6.0 points and 7.2 rebounds.

Dampier signed a seven-year, $73 million contract with the Mavericks in August 2004. Asked what his best-case scenario would be for next season, he said:

"I haven’t looked at any other teams. I love it here. It’s close to home for me. I see my friends a lot more. It’s only talk. I don’t worry about any of that. Eventually at some point something’s going to happen. That’s how I look at it."

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