DALLAS – After three years playing with the Minnesota Timberwolves, J.J. Barea has made his way back to the Dallas Mavericks.
Barea signed a one-year, $1.31 million contract with the Mavs on Wednesday after he cleared waivers. The Mavs waived point guard Gal Mekel to make room for Barea.
"It’s pretty exciting stuff,’’ Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. “It’s a homecoming and we’re just really, really excited about having him back.
“Clearly, he’s a big chemistry guy and he’s a winner in every sense of the word.’’
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Nelson said Barea will be at the Mavs’ shootaround Thursday morning in preparation for that night’s home game against the UthaaJazz.
Barea played a major role when the Mavs captured the 2011 NBA title in six games over the Miami Heat. The Mavs trailed the Heat in that best-of-seven series, 2-1, when coach Rick Carlisle decided to insert Barea into the starting lineup in place in DeShawn Stevenson.
The Mavs won the final three games of that series, and in those three games Barea had 40 points, eight rebounds and 14 assists in 78 minutes. He also was 16-of-32 from the field, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range while giving the Mavs the lift they needed to survive the Heat.
As far as Mekel goes, the Mavs still owe him $1,763,758 through the 2015-’16 season. And they were straight-forward with him in regards to their pursuit of Barea.
"I told him we’ve been talking to (Barea) and told him this is what might happen and here’s why and there’s the options you have, and what’s the best option for you in your mind,’’ owner Mark Cuban said. "He’s easily the most improved player in training camp.
"We were completely transparent with everything that was going on with him.’’
Meanwhile, Barea joins a crowded group of Mavs point guards which include Jameer Nelson, Devin Harris and Raymond Felton. But Felton is about two weeks away from playing due to a high right ankle sprain he suffered in an Oct. 10 preseason game against Oklahoma City.