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Will this be J.J. Bareas last season in Dallas?

Will this be J.J. Bareas last season in Dallas?
Published On: Wed, Oct 10
Apr 26, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; A view of a banner bearing the image of former Dallas Maverick guard Rajon Rondo (9) before the game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs. at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

JosA© JuanA BareaA has had a remarkable career. Moving from Puerto Rico to the United States at 17 to play high school basketball in Florida,A BareaA was the antithesis of the over-publicized, over-exposed high school ballers we see entering the college scene today. Generously (very generously) listed at six feet, J.J. was not highly recruited and did not receive major college offers, opting instead to play at Northeastern in the America East Conference. After a stellar career there, Barea was not invited to the combine, and unsurprisingly went undrafted that summer.

That was in 2006. 12 years later, Barea is still in the league; still baffling defenders with hesitation moves, and still making circus layups over defenders seemingly twice his size. He has never been a star, but hea€™s been a game-breaker for stretches in Dallas, including an impossibly good run in the 2011 playoffs that helped deliver a championship. His play in the second round against theA Lakers, as well as the Finals against Miami (where he started the final two deciding games) were absolutely crucial to that title run.

Ia€™ll confess that there were times a€” especially in his first stint with the Mavs a€” when I found Bareaa€™s style of play a little grating. The excessive dribbling, where Barea would scamper around looking for a play and then end up having to heave a 25 footer? Yeah, not my favorite. However, when Barea returned to theA MavericksA in 2014 (after a few years of questionable point guard play in Dallas), I found a renewed appreciation for his craftiness and guile. He really is a guy who gets the absolute most from his body, using every last one of the few inches hea€™s been given to find the right angle to attack.

Barea is a free agent after this season. It is not a secret that head coachA Rick CarlisleA adores him. But, will that be enough to see him come back at age 35? The team spent what was essentially a late first round pick onA Jalen Brunson, who has a similar profile, and given how highly the team spoke of him on draft night, it would certainly seem that they think Brunson is capable of handling Bareaa€™s role as the backup point guard.

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