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.
From Gonzalo Aguirregomezcorta of ESPN Deportes:
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.
The Los Angeles Clippers still have Paul Pierce under contract. Not many minutes for him, but he has a roster spot.
Pierce probably wants come back but is thinking it all over, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
Pierce has been debating this with himself for a while now.
Pierce saw a dramatic drop off in production and how much he was used last season by Rivers. Pierce averaged a career-low 6.1 points per game on an also career low 48.9 true shooting percentage. His PER of 8.2 was also a career low. You get the idea. By the end of the season Pierce was mostly an afterthought for Doc Rivers (although he did start one game after Blake Griffin was out and the Clippers’ playoff dreams were toast).
Pierce would be more mentor than a key player on the court, but he would be on probably the third best team in the West, a team that capable of making a deep playoff run. Does he want to do that for one more season? You know Doc would welcome him.
Andrea Bargnani said he would’ve played “for free” to prove himself with the Nets last season.
That would have been about the right price.
Bargnani suffered through a miserable season — full of injury, poor individual play and losing. Brooklyn eventually bought him out.
Now, the entire NBA might be finished with the former No. 1 pick.
Bargnani signed with Spanish team Saski Baskonia.
At age 30, he faces a long road back to world’s top league — if he even wants to try. Bargnani is a one-dimensional jump shooter, and he doesn’t even shoot that well.
It was ridiculous for the Knicks to trade a first-rounder for him, and that was three years ago already. Bargnani is only further from his peak now.
Maybe he carves out a niche in Europe, where his lack of physicality is less likely to be exposed. But Bargnani is no longer an NBA player.
The Heat signed Dion Waiters to a room-exception contract.
Heat president Pat Riley, via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:
“Dion is not a Room Exception player. He wanted to play for the Miami Heat and chose to forgo other more lucrative financial opportunities to be a part of our championship organization. We are very honored that he made the commitment to come to South Florida and sign with us. Dion is young, athletic and explosive, which fits in with our roster. He will add a great dimension for us at the off-guard spot. I really like the depth and versatility that we now have in our perimeter positions. Welcome aboard Dion!”
I’m really curious about those “more lucrative financial opportunities.”
The Thunder didn’t think Waiters was worth his one-year, $6,777,589 qualifying offer. They earmarked that money for a Russell Westbrook renegotiation-and-extension and don’t define the market themselves. But every team has other uses for its money than paying Waiters, and none deemed Waiters a priority.
How much could Waiters have gotten next season if he signed a multi-year deal rather than the 1+1 he inked with Miami? The whole “Waiters betting on himself” narrative falls apart if nobody was willing to bet more more on Waiters.
The 24-year-old is talented. But his ball-hogging, drifting focus and me-first attitude can be infuriating.
It behooves Riley to paint Waiters as more than a room-exception player, because that enhances Riley’s reputation as someone who lures free agents for less than market value. A big-time compliment from the influential Riley might have even part of Waiters’ contract negotiation.
But there’s a reason Waiters signed for the room exception. It has something to do with the type of player he is.
The Clippers don’t just play second fiddle to the Lakers in Los Angeles. They play second fiddle to the Lakers in their own arena.
Unless the Clippers want to move from the NBA’s second-biggest market, the former isn’t changing.
Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:
The Clippers want to escape the Lakers’ shadow. Leaving the Staples Center wouldn’t turn the Clippers into L.A.’s team, but it’d give them a new avenue for attention — and revenue.
Of course, if the Clippers stay in the Staples Center, they’ll want the best terms possible. Leaking interest in a new arena only helps their bargaining position.