Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Six

J.J. Barea wants to stay in Dallas, but choice may be hard


Every playoffs, some unexpected free agent to be has a fantastic run, one where he is used properly by his current coach, another GM seems to fall in love with his game watching the playoffs then he gets overpaid coming into next season.

Meet J.J. Barea.

The diminutive point guard from Puerto Rico slashed and carved his way through the Lakers, Thunder and Miami, becoming a fan favorite along the way.

Now he is a free agent, but he made it clear to ESPN Dallas where his heart lies.

“It’s a business, but I love Puerto Rico and then I love Dallas,” Barea said. “This city is real special to me, so hopefully (owner) Mark (Cuban) and Donnie and myself, my family will do everything we can to stay here in Dallas.”

What other teams are going to offer (or can offer) will depend on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, so it is up in the air. There may be ways for Dallas to match that offer. But right now that’s an unknown.

Dallas management has said bringing back Barea is a priority (along with Caron Butler and Tyson Chandler, and more those two probably). There is mutual interest, but if another GM comes in over the top with an oversized offer for a guy who should be a backup point guard, Barea may have to choose between a big payday and Dallas. Not the worst problem to have if you’re him.

Kobe Bryant says his age 37 is not like Michael Jordan’s age 37

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Once again, Kobe Bryant‘s career arc is being compared to Michael Jordan’s.

There’s a lot of reason’s that’s flawed — starting with Kobe being drafted on to a Lakers team that had Shaquille O’Neal and was already considered NBA elite, as opposed to Jordan working to build a franchise up. That said, Kobe has invited the Jordan comparison at times and it has been a constant through is career. Fair or not.

Kobe is coming back this fall after seasons of injury to the NBA and those comparisons continue — now to the Wizards’ version of Jordan. And Kobe is not at all fond of that, as he told Sam Amick of the USA Today.

“This is uncharted territory,” he said. “My 37 (years old) isn’t MJ’s 37 (when he returned after taking two seasons off to play for the Washington Wizards), you know what I mean? Nor is it the same team or the same system that he was playing in. It’s much, much different. There’s really no barometer, no (precedent) for training physically, for recovery. It’s uncharted territory.”

Kobe is right, starting with Jordan was retired at age 37 (he came back at 38). Also, Jordan had four+ seasons off by the time he was 38 and was not coming off multiple major surgeries.

Kobe is entering his 20th NBA season and what any real basketball fan should wish for him is health. Let him play one full season (with limited minutes and nights off), let him get to the final game of this season next April and make his own decision on his future. Let him leave the game on his own terms.

That said, if Kobe can average Jordan’s numbers at that age — 22.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game — it will be a major accomplishment, and the Lakers will have a better record than many of us expect.

And Kobe may want to play a 21st season as well.

Celtics ease to 124-91 win at Olimpia Milano in Global Games

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MILAN (AP) — The Boston Celtics eased to a 124-91 victory over Olimpia Milano at the Mediolanum Forum on Tuesday, comfortably winning the first of a double-header in Europe as part of the NBA Global Games.

Isaiah Thomas led the way for the Celtics with 18 points, including nine in his first seven minutes after coming off the bench midway through the first quarter.

Jared Sullinger added 14 points, as did Avery Bradley, who also had four three-pointers, while David Lee weighed in with 13 as well as seven rebounds and three assists.

Alessandro Gentile – who is reportedly wanted by the Houston Rockets, who hold NBA rights to the 22-year-old – top scored for Milano, with 19 points.

Next up for the Celtics is Real Madrid in Spain on Thursday.