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J.J. Barea wants to go back to the Mavs

Dec 4, 2011, 1:53 PM EDT

J.J. Barea Getty Images

Jose Juan Barea is going to get a lot of offers in free agency. That’s what happens when you’re the spark plug on the championship team. Barea does what he does very well. He manages the offense, hits some shots, and if you lose him for a minute, bam, he’s backdoor and you’ve given up two points.

But the Mavericks want him back, because of his contribution to the championship run, and for his part, Barea says he wants to oblige them… for the right price. From ESPN.com:

During a brief phone conversation Friday with Barea, who is in the Dominican Republic before he returns to Dallas next week, he reiterated that he hopes to again be playing for Dallas and that the ball is in the Mavs court. “I always said thats my first option,” Barea said. “I did my job last year.” He said he is not necessarily chasing the highest offer or a starting job, saying, “I just want what I deserve.”

via J.J. Barea: Ball in Mavs court – Dallas Mavericks Blog – ESPN Dallas.

That’s code for “I’d like the money, thanks.” But maybe not. Maybe the Mavericks will offer something reasonable and he’ll return for the chemistry and a shot at the title again.

But there will be offers. Most notably from the Heat. But surely Barea will pull in more than the mid-level, which is the Heat’s only real option for a signing, and they also need a wing like Shane Battier, and a center. The bigger issue may be that Barea’s likely not worth a very large offer. He’s higher in this class based off of his performance in the playoffs, but he’s still a criminally small guard who can only play off the bench. His story is a great one, coming from the D-League and Puerto Rico and winning the Finals as a huge component for the Mavericks.

You just have to be careful. After all, we just had the lockout and all.

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