Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

March 30, 2010 Milwaukee, WI. Bradley Center..Los Angeles Clipper Drew Gooden had a double-double scoring 20 points and 11 rebounds against the Bucks..Milwaukee Bucks won over Los Angeles Clippers 107-89. Mike McGinnis/CSM.

Some observers around the NBA thought the Bucks overpaid for the 6-foot-10, 250-pound Gooden, and he took notice.

“I felt I had to go to hell and back to get what I deserved and I worked hard,” Gooden said. “I did everything I was supposed to.

“I heard, ‘He got overpaid.’ But a lot of guys I talked to were like, ‘He deserved that,’ so I’ll take that.

“They don’t know what I’ve been through. My career numbers are just as good as some of those guys who got 80 (million) this year.”

Gooden spent the first half of last season in Dallas and contributed primarily at the center position while playing with all-star power forward Dirk Nowitzki.

But he was traded to Washington at the February deadline as the Mavericks picked up center Brendan Haywood and forward Caron Butler. Gooden never played for the Wizards but was released in a cost-cutting move and ended the season with the Los Angeles Clippers.

“I had to reinvent my game, and I have to credit Coach Carlisle,” Gooden said of Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle. “I had to learn how to be a guy to come off the bench and give you 18 or 20 minutes and be a force defensively rather than offensively.

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