NBA Free Agents 2011: J.J. Barea Would Be a Terrible Fit for New York Knicks

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2011

MIAMI, FL - MAY 31:  Jose Juan Barea #11 of the Dallas Mavericks drives against Chris Bosh #1 and Mike Bibby #0 of the Miami Heat in Game One of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on May 31, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

J.J. Barea recently named the New York Knicks as a potential destination of his once this free-agency period officially begins, but the team would do better to not reciprocate such interest.

Why? After all, isn't Barea a "championship-caliber player who is actually a free agent"?

While the "free agent" part is true, the "championship-caliber" is a bit of a stretch. Barea had a solid season, averaging 9.5 points and 3.9 assists, but some serious doubt exists as to whether or not he has the potential to be a starting point guard.

The Knicks may have Chauncey Billups, but if they go after Barea, it should be with the intention that he can take over the reins either now or once Billups' contract expires after this season.

How would Barea fair in Mike D'Antoni's offense? His quickness seems to indicate he would do just fine, but again, he has never played in such a fast-paced system, and it is unclear how he would react when forced to make split-second decisions.

Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, he falls out of the one-year-deal category the team is supposed to be sticking to. Signing Barea to a multi-year contract jeopardizes New York's chances of obtaining Chris Paul.

Could Barea be used as trade bait for Paul? Sure, but such an assumption is a risk in itself, as the Hornets have shown no indication that they would be interested in the 27-year-old.

New York's chances at landing Paul are slim to begin with, as they must count on the point guard to will his way to the Big Apple. That being said, the Knicks have come too far to give up now. They have cleared the necessary cap space and sacrificed promising talent, as well as an impeccable president and general manager.

There is no turning back for the Knicks at this point, and opting to sign Barea would be a major concession on their part.

New York's next point guard needs to come with fewer question marks, and more accolades. Barea has a championship to his name, but he is far from a proven winner. He is the beneficiary of a great Dallas Mavericks squad, and nowhere near worth the Knicks risking their ability to obtain Paul or any other star.

The Knicks may be a great "second option" for Barea, but if New York is wise enough, he won't even be their fifth or sixth.