Tablet Sports

Barea signing would cost Mekel his Mavericks job

Just to make sure the story was being delivered correctly, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban spoke to Gal Mekel for more than an hour Monday about J.J. Barea possibly joining the Mavs.

On Monday, the Minnesota Timberwolves bought out Barea’s contract, and he’s expected to clear waivers Wednesday. Barea wants to sign with the Mavs once he clears waivers, and the Mavs want to sign Barea.

If that happens, Mekel will be traded or waived to make room for Barea. And that’s what Cuban wanted to discuss with Mekel.

“I told him the exact truth,” Cuban said. “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.

“I wanted to be very communicative with him because he earned it. I have a lot of respect for Gal.”

In his second season with the Mavs, Mekel has been feeling down since the news surfaced about Barea perhaps coming to Dallas.

“I hear all the stuff, I know what’s going on,” Mekel said. “I had the great preseason and I showed that I can really help this team.

“I think I proved myself in a good situation that a lot of people saw that I can be effective in this type of competition. I’m here and I want to help the team.”

Cuban doesn’t know yet if Mekel, who averaged 7.6 points and 3.9 assists in 19.5 minutes per game during preseason play, has any trade value.

“He had a great summer,” Cuban said. “But the problem is everybody’s in love with their team right now.”

The Mavs truly covet Mekel. They just have more love for Barea, who was a key figure when the Mavs captured the 2011 NBA title.

“He’s easily the most improved player in training camp,” Cuban said of Mekel. “We were completely transparent with everything that was going on with him.”

Cuban tried to inform Mekel it’s not a slam dunk that Barea will clear waivers.

“If it happens, it happens,” Cuban said. “If it doesn’t, [Mekel] could be here for the next 20 years. That’s just the way this league works.”

Felton return unclear

Raymond Felton said there is no timetable for his return to full-time workouts.

Felton has been sidelined since suffering a high right ankle sprain Oct. 10 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The nine-year veteran point guard went through some drills after Tuesday’s shootaround to test his lateral movement and see how much pressure he can put on his ankle.

“I’m out of the boot, I can wear shoes now and I’m actually walking a little bit better,” Felton said.

“I’ve still got a little limp, so I’m definitely not back yet. But it’s getting better, for sure.”

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