Barea's potential roles: insurance or trade bait

J.J. Barea is kind of like the Mavs’ version of Patrick Crayton.

He’s been a solid player, but he has no clear role due to the arrival/development of a young potential star. Roddy Beaubois is going to get Barea’s minutes. Like Crayton with the Cowboys, Barea is a nice insurance policy if he remains with the Mavs.

But the biggest difference – well, other than the fact that Barea’s mouth doesn’t generate juicy headlines – is the fact that Barea has significant trade value.

It was a no-brainer for the Mavs to pick up the team option in Barea’s contract for $1.8 million next season. But it’s far from a sure thing that he’ll be back in Dallas.

Other teams have inquired about Barea in trade talks with the Mavs many times over the last couple of years. That’s because he’s proven to be a decent player and has an inexpensive, cap-friendly contract.

Barea would be a nice complement to the Mavs’ best trade chip this summer, Erick Dampier’s instantly expiring $13 million contract. Pairing Barea with Dampier’s deal would add basketball value to the package without dramatically altering the finances.

The Mavs can find another undersized, scoring-minded guard to take Barea’s spot on the roster. South Carolina’s Devan Downey and California’s Jerome Randle are expected to work out in Dallas before the draft.

The best way Barea can help the Mavs now is as trade bait.