J.J. Barea was a key component of the Mavericks’ championship team in 2011, but for reasons he explained in detail recently, Mark Cuban decided against bringing back the free agent players from that squad to defend their title the following season.
Barea found a home with the Timberwolves in free agency, and is signed there for guaranteed money through the next two seasons. But once his contract in Minnesota is up, Barea said he wouldn’t rule out returning to Dallas.
When you suggest the possibility of going beyond the regular season in 2014, Barea perks up. It’s something he would like to do with the Timberwolves. In spite of this, Barea doesn’t close the door on the Mavs, who at the beginning of the summer sounded as if they were trying to once again retain his services. He has strong rapport with the Dallas owner.
“It’s a great relationship with Mark Cuban. If they want to bring me back to Dallas, I am very [good] with it,” he said. “But I’m happy in Minnesota. They’re the ones that wanted me there, the ones that signed me for four years, so until they decide to trade me, I’m going to give them all my effort in the games.”
With two years remaining on his deal, it seemed like a silly question. It was made relevant, however, by the fact that there were brief rumors near the beginning of free agency this summer that Barea might have been headed back to the Mavs in a deal for O.J. Mayo. But that ultimately never materialized.
Barea’s numbers have increased since he came to the Timberwolves, a function of him gaining more minute-per-game opportunities. He’s best served as a change of pace role player off the bench, and if Dallas has rebuilt its team to a respectable level by the time Barea is a free agent, it appears as though both sides would have no problem revisiting that relationship.