In addition to the news of the release of J.J. Barea, Tim MacMahon of ESPN reports that Dallas will bring in Courtney Lee for training camp.
Sources: Mavs plan to sign Courtney Lee to replace J.J. Barea on camp roster. Like Barea, Lee was considered a leader and great vet in Dallas locker room despite not being in regular rotation last season. Mavs value that kind of presence even though Lee is roster long shot.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 10, 2020
Lee joined the Mavericks as part of the trade for Kristaps Porzingis in January of 2019. In his season and a half with Dallas he played 46 games, starting 13. Lee never saw consistent minutes last season, though he reportedly played an important locker room role.
MacMahon noted in a follow up tweet that the camp invite may mostly be a chance to prove his health, given that he’s 35 and dealt with a calf injury prior to Dallas heading to Orlando for the playoff bubble.
This invite accomplishes a number of things, even if his chances of making the roster are small. He offers a veteran voice in training camp and is a signal of good will to a player that was reportedly a positive force in the locker room last season.
At the moment, it seems unlikely Lee makes the roster. But strange things happen every day, and it’s better to have someone around and part with them when the time comes, than need someone and have to conduct a search. Lee will, at a minimum, help improve the quality of training camp.