Free agency hasn’t technically even started and, yet, most of the Mavs’ rebuilding is already finished.
They still need a veteran starting point guard, but the roster is taking shape as Charlie Villanueva and J.J. Barea have reportedly agreed to contracts that will keep them in Dallas next season. Though not starters, both would be key contributors on a team now anchored by center DeAndre Jordan and aging forward Dirk Nowitzki.
Villanueva, who will return on a one-year, fully guaranteed deal, resurrected his disappointing career last season by averaging 6.3 points in 10 minutes off the bench. He was one of Dallas’ best 3-point shooters at 38 percent. His role next season would be similar.
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Barea, meanwhile, flirted with the Miami Heat before now readying himself to accept a two-year contract with the Mavs. They are still efforting to sign Jeremy Lin as their starting point guard, and would like a combo of Barea and Devin Harris as backups.
Barea wasn’t as effective as he was during Dallas’ 2011 championship run, but he was still a productive player last season with 8 points and 3 assists in 17 minutes. His 3.78-to-1 assists-to-turnovers ratio ranked third in the league behind only Chris Paul and Ty Lawson.
Though neither are – or never were – stars, both Villanueva and Barea could be productive pieces on a team that could push deep into the playoffs.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.