A former staff sergeant turned Florida State big man, Bernard James was one of the feel good stories of the 2012 draft after the Dallas Mavericks took a flier on the 27-year-old with the 33rd overall pick.
James, who served three tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar, took another big step towards realizing his basketball career this past week when he signed a one-year contract with the Mavericks.
According to the Dallas Star-Telegram, James' deal is worth a little over $473,000.
He is the third and final 2012 draft pick of the Mavs, following first-round pick Jared Cunningham and fellow second-rounder Jae Crowder, to come to terms on his rookie contract. Crowder, who was drafted one pick after James at No. 34, signed his rookie deal with the Mavericks last week, as did Cunningham, the 24th overall pick. The rights to all three players were traded by Cleveland to Dallas in exchange for the 17th overall selection, which the Cavaliers used to take North Carolina center Tyler Zeller.
The 6-foot-10, 240-pound military veteran joined the Seminoles program in 2010-11 and helped Florida State reach new heights, including its first ever ACC Championship in school history, during his two-year tenure. During the 2011-12 season, James anchored the Seminoles frontcourt, averaging 10.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg and 2.3 bpg in 28 minutes per contest.
While he is still developing as a basketball player and currently sits behind Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Kaman, Elton Brand and even Brandan Wright on the Dallas depth chart, James' physical maturity could, at the very least, put him in line to see spot duty off the bench.
After also coming to terms on a deal with Delonte West, the Dallas roster appears set with 15 players in the fold.