Mavericks let Barea take a bow, give him championship ring

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 25, 2012 - 11:56 PM

Injured Timberwolves guard J.J. Barea got a hug from billionaire Mark Cuban and love from an adoring crowd before Wednesday's game at Dallas. He also got his ring.

The Wolves’ J.J. Barea acknowledged the cheers in Dallas after receiving his Mavericks championship ring before Wednesday’s game.

Photo: Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press

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DALLAS - Injured Timberwolves guard J.J. Barea got a hug from billionaire Mark Cuban and love from an adoring crowd before Wednesday's game at Dallas.

He also got his ring.

Barea returned to an American Airlines Center he called home for five seasons on Wednesday and accepted his NBA championship keepsake, a diamond-encrusted bauble that seems to dwarf his hand.

"It's weird, but it's exciting," said Barea, who signed with the Wolves in December and remains out because of a hamstring injury. "It's a special night: Get our rings, see my old teammates again, see all the fans. It's a symbol of everything we did last year. That's going to stay with me for the rest of my life. It's hard to get, so I'm happy to have one."

His former teammates greeted his return by leaving a high chair and two baby rattles in front of his locker stall before the game. Barea and his girlfriend are expecting a child. A reporter from China asked him when his girl would get a ring.

"Nah, nah, nah, that's totally different," he said, laughing.

Ridnour out as well

The Wolves' injury woes just get worse: With five players already out injured, starting guard Luke Ridnour sat out Wednesday because of a sore knee.

"Last game we were down to three guards, now we're down to two," coach Rick Adelman said, referring to starters Ricky Rubio (the only healthy point guard) and Wayne Ellington.

Wes Johnson, coming back from what he called a bout with pneumonia, didn't look well at all but played 17 minutes.


• While Kevin Love got paid nearly $61 million, Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph both did not sign a contract extension. Beasley's agent, who also represents Love, preferred to wait until next summer, when his client will be a restricted free agent. Wolves boss David Kahn said he had some discussions with Randolph's agent, but decided in the final days not to pursue the matter further for now.

• Retired Peja Stojakovic returned to collect his Mavs championship ring. "He's the best shooter I ever saw," said Adelman, who coached Stojakovic in Sacramento. "I've seen him too many times practice 100 threes and make 95. The guy who rebounded for him had an easy job. He just kept catching."

• Randolph and Johnson both grew up in the Dallas area.

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