DALLAS -- When J.J. Barea became available, the Dallas Mavericks jumped at the opportunity to acquire the pint-sized playmaker.
Barea’s energy and frenetic play on the court heavily impacted the 2011 championship series the Mavs won over the Miami Heat.
With the Mavs trailing that best-of-seven series, 2-1, Barea replaced DeShawn Stevenson in the starting lineup for Game 4 of that series. The Mavs wound up winning the series in six games, with Barea totaling 40 points, eight rebounds and 14 assists in 78 minutes over the span of the final three games.
What’s more, Nelson noted that the Mavs just couldn’t afford to pass up the chance of reuniting Barea with Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler. That’s why they signed him to a one-year, $1.31 million contract on Wednesday.
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"It’s almost like getting the old band back together,’’ Nelson said. "The last time he and Dirk and Tyson shared a locker room together we went to a pretty special place, so that certainly isn’t lost on us.
"He’s just a guy that really plays well with Dirk, he’s got the ability to create shots and he also can give you a nice scoring punch off the bench. Clearly, he’s a big chemistry guy and he’s a winner in every sense of the word.’’
The addition of Barea gives the Mavs a logjam at point guard where Jameer Nelson is the starter, Devin Harris is the first playmaker off the bench, and Raymond Felton is waiting in the wings while recovering form a high right ankle sprain. Could the scramble for minutes at point guard become a recurring issues going forward?
"Yeah, but all these guys have their eye on the prize,’’ Nelson said. "I think everyone understands that Rick plays a deep bench and as long as we’re winning games I think things will be just fine.’’
Part of that logjam also included Gal Mekel, who was in his second season with the Mavs and was coming off an impressive training camp. But when the Mavs stacked up Barea’s credentials next to Mekel’s, it was a no-brainer as far as which way they were going to go.
"Unfortunately with the numbers’ game and the opportunity to get a guy like J.J. back, we had to make a hard decision,’’ Nelson said. "But we got nothing but the utmost respect for Gal -- he’s got a very, very, very bright future.
"We wouldn’t even consider this move if we weren’t overstocked at the point guard and having a guy like JJ become available. We’re that high on Gal, but unfortunately it’s the reality of our business.’’