DALLAS -- JJ Barea received a warm ovation when he entered Saturday's game between the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves early in the first quarter.
But Barea plays for the Timberwolves, not the Mavs.
The Mavs' fans still have a love affair with Barea, who was a key fixture on Dallas' 2011 NBA championship team.
"Every time I come back I see everybody and it reminds me of the great times that I had here,'' Barea said. "The people treat me so nice here and I love it.
"I love coming back and I love playing here.''
After the 2010-'11 championship season, Barea became a free agent and failed to come to terms with the Mavs on a new contract. Barea eventually signed a four-year, $19 million deal with the Timberwolves.
Still, he always thinks about what might have happened if the Mavs would have kept their championship team intact.
"Every time I think about it or I see Dallas on TV or I come back here I always wonder what might have been, let's try it again,'' Barea said. "But that’s the way it goes.''
-- Dwain Price
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