Corey Brewer played just 19 games and spent about three months in Dallas three seasons ago, but it was long enough to collect a third championship ring and alter the arc of his career.
Brewer played just 23 minutes during the Mavericks’ playoff run to an NBA title, but included were eight pivotal minutes in a second-round Game 1, when Brewer’s energy brought his team back from 16 points behind to beat the Lakers in Los Angeles. From there, the Mavs went on to sweep the series and eventually beat Miami in the NBA Finals.
Brewer signed with the Mavericks after the Wolves traded him to New York in that big three-way Carmelo Anthony deal and the Knicks quickly waived him.
“I learned a lot from those guys,” said Brewer, who in Dallas played alongside Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry and current Wolves teammate J.J. Barea. “All the older guys helped me mature, I guess you could say. They showed me you’ve got to work your butt off and be ready, no matter what.”
Brewer’s NBA career was in doubt before he signed with Dallas. The Mavs traded him the next summer in a salary-cap move to Denver, where he spent two productive seasons that he parlayed into a three-year, $14 million contract with the Wolves in July.
“I don’t know, you never know,” he said before Friday’s game against the Mavs when asked if his career might have turned out differently had he not won that title in Dallas. “I’m just happy I got a chance to go there, win a championship and play with some great guys in a great situation.”
His NBA ring joins two NCAA title rings he won with Joakim Noah and Al Horford at Florida. “I don’t look at it very often, but it’s nice in the summer to go see it,” Brewer said. “It’s cozy next to the other two. I like the three. I need another one.”
Wolves forward Derrick Williams was a late scratch Friday night because of back spasms, an absence that compounded the team’s problems with a second unit that already lacked scoring punch and was missing injured Ronny Turiaf and Chase Budinger. With Williams out, coach Rick Adelman called upon rookie Robbie Hummel first at that small-forward spot when Brewer needed a rest. The Wolves’ bench — two points each by Hummel and Dante Cunningham, one by Alexey Shved — supplied just five of the Wolves’ 55 first-half points.
Wolves backup guard Barea had dinner Thursday night with pal Nowitzki and support staff members of the Mavericks, with whom he spent five NBA seasons before signing here. Asked how much Nowitzki has left after 15 seasons in the NBA, Barea said, “Not much. His better years are gone. He’s still got a couple years, this year and the next one I think will be good and then he’ll start dropping down a bit.”
• Mavericks veteran Vince Carter was suspended by the NBA for Friday’s game because he threw an elbow and hit Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams in the head during a game Wednesday.
• Adelman said Turiaf is feeling better and he’ll know more when Turiaf gets more flexibility in his injured arm.