Dallas Mavericks

With Barea in the wings, Mekel focusing on tonight’s game

SAN ANTONIO – Gal Mekel has heard the rumors flying around. And the Dallas Mavericks’ second-year point guard doesn’t particularly care for them.

JJ Barea, a former fan favorite of the Mavs – and probably the coaches, too – is about to clear waivers after he received a buyout Monday from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Barea would like to play for the Mavs again, and the Mavs would like to have him play for them again.

The problem is both Barea -- he played for the Mavs from 2006-’11 -- and Mekel are point guards. And if the Mavs sign Barea, more than likely they’ll trade or waive Mekel.

That part is unnerving to Mekel, who, by all accounts, had a terrific training camp and was playing some of his best ball since coming to America from Israel last year.

"I hear all the stuff, I know what’s going on,’’ Mekel said after Tuesday morning’s shootaround at the AT&T Center. "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.’’

Mekel hopes to get a chance to prove his worth again tonight when the Mavs open the regular season at 7 against the San Antonio Spurs. It could, in effect, be his last game with the Mavs.

"Anything is possible,’’ Mekel said. "All I know is we have a game today against the Spurs and we really want to win opening night and I’ll be ready to help the team in any scenario

"I’ve got good feedback from the coaches through the whole preseason period and I want to focus on tonight. It’s a big game for us, and if I can help the team to win tonight that’s all I’m focused on.’’