NBA Free Agents: J.J. Barea Wants To Return To Mavericks, But Knicks An Option Too

J.J. Barea has gone from an undrafted free agent to a contributor on an NBA championship team in just four seasons, but the free agent may be on the move during the lockout-shortened offseason. The New York Knicks are apparently at the top of his list if the Dallas Mavericks don't re-sign him.

J.J. Barea has come quite a long way in his four-year NBA career, but the quick guard seems to be open to looking at a new home this summer. Barea went from being an undrafted point guard in the 2006 NBA Draft following four standout seasons with the Northeastern Huskies to earning an NBA championship with the Dallas Mavericks last season, but the free agent is now looking toward the next step in his professional career.

Barea showed up big in the NBA playoffs last season as he gave the Los Angeles Lakers fits with his aggressive play in the pick-and-roll, and while he's stated numerous times that the Mavericks are his top option, he may also need to look elsewhere to earn what he's worth this season.

One of those options, as he told the New York Daily News over the weekend, would be the New York Knicks.

"I always said the Knicks would be a great second option. I love the city. I love the way they're playing now, their style of play with D'Antoni, the players over there," said Barea, who was in Punta Cana to support slugger David Ortiz's annual charity golf tournament. "We'll see. I know Carmelo more than Amar'e. I think after (D'Antoni became coach), I said, ‘That would be a great fit for me.'"

The basketball expert on this great nation of sports blogs, Tom Ziller, isn't quite as high on the diminutive point guard according to his post on the top NBA free agents last week

.You're about to read a lot of things about J.J. Barea that simply aren't true. That he's a great scorer. (His career high is 29; he's hit 20 some 15 times in 315 games.) That he's a great shooter. (He's a career 35.5 percent three-point shooter.) That he's young. (He's almost a year older than LeBron.) That he was vital to the Mavericks' championship. (He averaged fewer than 19 minutes per game in the playoffs, or roughly 20 seconds more than Peja Stojakovic. Barea's True Shooting percentage in the playoffs was the lowest on the team [including Corey Brewer and DeShawn Stevenson]).

Don't get me wrong: J.J.'s worth a look. But just don't linger too long. Please.

It will be interesting to see where Barea ultimately ends up as he could be a key player in the right situation -- he did very well in helping lead his native Puerto Rico to a championship at the Pan-American Games this fall -- but it's unclear if he's worth what the market might be in the lockout-shortened offseason.

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