J.J. Barea, Mavs finalize deal

DALLAS -- J.J. Barea, a fan favorite from Dallas' 2011 championship team, is rejoining the Mavericks.

After clearing waivers Wednesday afternoon, Barea signed a veteran's minimum deal with the Mavs, who released second-year guard Gal Mekel to make room on the roster.

"We could not be more excited to have J.J. back in a Mavericks uniform," Dallas president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. "He was a key contributor in bringing a championship to Dallas. A player with his experience and leadership will be a great addition to our team."

Barea finalized a buyout Monday with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who signed him to a four-year, $18 million deal following the Mavs' title run.

The 6-foot Barea spent the first five seasons of his career with the Mavericks. He primarily served as a sparkplug off the bench but started the last three games of the 2011 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, a move that helped the Mavs win each of those games.

Barea, who has career averages of 8.3 points and 3.4 assists, will join a deep guard rotation in Dallas with Jameer Nelson and Monta Ellis as starters and Devin Harris and Raymond Felton coming off the bench.

The Mavs owe $1.76 million to Mekel, whose contract was guaranteed through the 2015-16 season. He played in 31 games as a rookie, averaging 2.4 points and 2.0 assists.

"I have a lot of respect for Gal," said Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who informed Mekel of the team's plans on Monday. "He is easily the most improved player in training camp, so he earned it. He busted his ass. We were completely transparent with everything that's going on."

Added Nelson: "The future is very bright for Gal. He's got a big upside and is developing ahead of schedule. We wouldn't have even considered this move if it weren't for the unlikely scenario where a player of J.J.'s caliber was available."