Dampier ponders free-agent options

Free-agent center Erick Dampier(notes) is finalizing a list of teams he’ll meet with in the near future, a league source told Yahoo! Sports.

Dampier’s list is expected to be topped by the Miami Heat and Houston Rockets, as well as a potential sleeper: the Atlanta Hawks. Dampier still hasn’t decided how many teams he wants to meet with, but there are multiple suitors for him.

The Heat have been believed to be the favorite, but the Rockets also have been aggressive in pursuit of Dampier, whom they want to play behind Yao Ming(notes). The Rockets say they won’t play Yao more than 24 minutes in a game this season, and will sit him on back-to-back games. Houston has offered Dampier a two-year contract, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Dampier, 35,was traded to the Charlotte Bobcats from the Dallas Mavericks in the offseason, and the Bobcats recently waived him to spare paying the $13 million on the final year of his deal. Dampier averaged six points and 7.3 rebounds in 55 games for the Mavericks last season.

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Updated Friday, Sep 17, 2010