The final piece of the Dallas Mavericks’ roster puzzle is finally in place. Friday, the team signed veteran guard and fan-favorite J.J. Barea to a one-year, $2.6 million guaranteed contract, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports.
Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News initially reported the team’s intention of bringing Barea back on November 21.
Barea’s contract is similar to the one he signed with the team last summer. Dallas brought him back on a one-year, $2.56 million veteran’s minimum then.
Coming into this off-season, Barea’s future with the Mavericks—and as an NBA player—seemed to be at a crossroads. The 14-year vet saw a diminished role with the organization, often not dressing, last season but still had the desire to keep playing. Dallas on the other hand wanted to shift him into coaching.
Barea, 36, voiced his frustrations about his future in the league after the the Mavericks’ season came to an end.
“I still want to play basketball; I feel like I can still play basketball,” Barea said in an interview with El Nuevo Dia.
“I don’t know exactly where. If it is going to be in Dallas, I know what they want is to move me to coach. If I want to play basketball, I have to go the other way,” he added.
As it turns out, Barea didn’t have to look elsewhere to extend his playing career after all. While he’ll still dress in a jersey rather than a suit on the bench, it’s unlikely that his role will change much compared to last season, when head coach Rick Carlisle used him as a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency measure.
He appeared in just 29 games last season and averaged 7.7 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 3.9 assists.
Dallas has a host of point guards on its roster heading into 2020-21. It starts with Luka Doncic and continues to a now healthy Jalen Brunson, Trey Burke, and draftee Tyrell Terry.
According to a report from ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, Dallas has yet to officially sign Terry. However, the Mavs intend on signing the rookie to a deal similar to Brunson’s. Brunson signed a four-year, $6.1 million contract in 2018.
If this is the case with Terry, Barea would appear to again be the odd man out of the regular rotation.
Retaining Barea also poses a dilemma for the Mavericks’ roster with training camp set to begin in a few days. He gives them 16 players with guaranteed contract. NBA teams can only carry 15 players during the regular season.
Therefore, training camp will be a competition of sorts. There are some players who are guaranteed to make the final roster, but for those at the bottom of the pecking order, it’s going to be a fight to make the cut. Barea himself might even be battling for his job.
Training camps begin December 1.