Grade the deal: Mavericks bring back J.J. Barea to address familiar void
Barea returned to the Mavericks, his first NBA team, last October after spending two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The 31-year-old averaged 7.5 points, 3.4 assists and 1.7 rebounds in 77 games for Dallas in 2014–15.
In five postseason games against the Houston Rockets, Barea scored 11.8 points while averaging 30.8 minutes per game.
Earlier Monday, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that the Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers are exploring the possibility of a sign-and-trade that would sent point guard Jeremy Lin to Dallas. ESPN.com's Tim MacMahon reports that the Mavericks still hope to trade for Lin despite the agreement with Barea.
So far since the start of free agency, Dallas has also agreed to deals with center DeAndre Jordan and guard Wesley Matthews.
The Mavericks finished 50–32 last season, losing to the Rockets in the first round of the playoffs.
Analysis: Barea knows the Mavericks’ offense and the Mavericks know what Barea can and can’t do. That mutual understanding has made for a productive relationship in the past, yet it also brought Dallas to commit a shocking amount of salary in light of the team’s revised plans. The original reported agreement between Barea and the Mavs rang up at $5.6 million over two years—the value of the room exception. That made sense for what was, at the time, either a backup or third-string point guard.
To double that term and more than double the money even after adding Deron Williams makes this deal a bit more suspect. This amount of money won’t doom the Mavs or their future plans. It’s just a frivolous choice in light of Barea’s limitations, even if he does a fine job of forcing opponents into rotation with his drives and getting Rick Carlisle’s offense in motion.
— Rob Mahoney
- Molly Geary