Dallas Mavericks’ J.J. Barea is a huge reason Dallas is in the NBA Finals battling it out with the Miami Heat for their first ever NBA championship in franchise history.
Barea has been a crucial cog for Dallas not only throughout the regular season but during the playoffs as well. Especially in the series versus the Los Angeles Lakers.
Off the bench, he averaged 20.5 minutes in the regular season and currently averaging 17.5 minutes in the playoffs.
And now that Dallas is playing into June comes word Barea wants to play in Argentina at the Olympic qualifier in Mar del Plata for his home country of Puerto Rico in August, though he hopes his free agency is squared away first before going to Argentina:
“I’m 100% sure that I want to go to Argentina,” said Barea, who is a free agent after June 30. “I hope I can resolve my free agency status before the tournament starts. If that doesn’t happen then we’ll see. But I do want to play.”
“In Dallas they know how important it is for me to play for my national team and how much it’s benefited my career.”
Now begs the question, how do Mavericks fans feel about Barea logging more minutes after the Finals are over?
This is an issue that fans and NBA clubs have to think about with foreign talent.
On one hand, you have the argument that key players should rest, heal, and prepare for next season. Especially for Barea and the Mavs. Dallas would want to have their squad back next season at full strength to make another deep run into the playoffs. In this case you have Barea who may be young, but should he play for Puerto Rico the added minutes playing high-level competition in Argentina might be detrimental to Dallas’ bench next season.
There is also the point of the risk of injury. Barea averaged 9.5 points, and 3.9 assists off the bench for Dallas in the regular season and is currently averaging 8.5 points and 3.4 assists in the playoffs.
Is the risk of injury worth allowing him to play this summer?
On the other hand, there is the argument that if he wants to play it’s his decision. Playing for his home country carries a lot national pride and what player would not want to compete for a chance to play in the Olympics. Also, injuries can occur at anytime and anywhere. Besides, Barea is still young and has only been in the NBA for four years. Not to mention, with an NBA lockout looming, does it even matter?
In the end, Dallas probably won’t deny him from playing in Argentina, would have him insured, and wish him the best of luck.
But you know Dallas fans will be keeping tabs on Barea should he play for Puerto Rico hoping no news is good news.