Mark Cuban Praised For Rewarding J.J. Barea With $2.6 Million Deal Before Mavs Release

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been praised for agreeing to release guard J.J. Barea by releasing less than a month after signing him to a guarantee contract.

The move, first reported by ESPN, is Cuban's way of rewarding the veteran for his services to the team.

Last month, the Mavericks signed Barea to a one-year contract worth the veterans minimum of $2.6 million. The deal took the number of players on guaranteed contracts on the roster to 16, one more than the NBA allows during the regular season.

According to ESPN, however, Dallas had already planned to release Barea when they signed him last month and the one-year deal was Cuban's idea to reward the 36-year-old, who has spent 11 of his 14 seasons in the NBA with the Mavericks after joining the franchise as undrafted rookie in 2006. In the past, Cuban had previously indicated he felt Barea to have a role within the organization once he retires.

The Mavericks owner was widely praised for his decision on social media.

Mavs plan to release J.J. Barea on Thursday, per @espn_macmahon

Mark Cuban knew this was likely when Barea signed his 1-year, $2.6M deal last week but wanted to reward him for his time with the Mavs ✊ pic.twitter.com/B0CWsuyZo5

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 10, 2020

Mark Cuban a real one for that! 💪🏾 send the vet off right https://t.co/RtHgic3ho7

— Dionte Christmas (@Dchristmas22) December 10, 2020

Mark Cuban is really the best https://t.co/LeArAJc9y2

— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) December 10, 2020

The Mavs plan to release J.J. Barea tomorrow, even though they just signed him to a 1-Year/$2.6 Million deal. Cuban wanted to reward Barea for his time with the Mavs.

Mark Cuban is a real one. ✊✊

(via @espn_macmahon) pic.twitter.com/HpmElV0In6

— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) December 10, 2020

Mark Cuban is the realest owner in sports https://t.co/w8wEE92PSv

— ㄣ⃒ (@mikenshit_) December 10, 2020

The Mavericks plan to release JJ Barea after signing him to a $2.6M deal last week. The deal was described as “a reward for his contribution to the Mavs over the last 11 seasons”, via ESPN.

What a class act move from Mark Cuban.

— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) December 10, 2020

The Puerto Rican will go down in franchise folklore for his performances in the 2011 NBA Finals, when he played a crucial role in helping Dallas erase a one-game deficit in the series against the Miami Heat to win its maiden NBA championship.

Having lost the series opener on the road, Dallas bounced back to level the series, only to lose Game 3 at home. Ahead of Game 4, then-Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle surprisingly promoted Barea to the starting line-up and paired with All-Star point guard Jason Kidd in the backcourt.

Barea, who at that point averaged 4.3 points and 1.6 assists per game, seized the opportunity and averaged 13.3 points and 4.7 assists over the next three games, which the Mavericks won en route to clinch the first NBA title in franchise history.

Barea left Dallas the following season and played for the Minnesota Timberwolves between 2011 and 2014, before returning to the Mavericks. Only Dirk Nowitzki, Brad Davis, Derek Harper and Rolando Blackman have appeared more times in a Mavericks uniform than Barea, who has played 637 times for the franchise and has a career average of 8.9 points and 3.9 assists.

Last season, the 36-year-old averaged 7.7 points and 3.9 assists in 15.5 minutes on the court in 29 games during the shortened regular season and Dallas saw him as a valuable mentoring figure to emerging superstar Luka Doncic.

Barea is expected to officially become a free agent on Thursday and ESPN indicated he remains committed to continue playing in the NBA for one more season, before retiring and focusing on a coaching career.

The 2011 NBA champion has some experience as coach after taking charge of Indios de Mayaguez in his home country for a portion of the 2017 season.

The Mavericks are expected to replace Barea on the training camp roster by signing fellow veteran Courtney Lee.

Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea
Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea #5 brings the ball upcourt against the Sacramento Kings during the first half of a game at HP Field House at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 4 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The Mavericks have agreed to release the veteran point guard. Kim Klement-Pool/Getty