Jose Juan Barea Mora

NBA BUZZ - Bobby Motus (The Freeman) - January 27, 2021 - 12:00am

JJ Barea, as he’s commonly known, went on to play for the Dallas Mavericks as an undrafted rookie from 2006 to 2011.  He helped the Mavs win their first NBA championship in 2011 as chief reliever to Jason Kidd.  That season, he averaged 9.5 points and 3.9 assists in 81 games. 

Barea is one of only 15 Puerto Ricans who had played in the NBA since 1978 and only the second since Alfred “Butch” Lee to win a championship (1979-1980 LA Lakers, Magic Johnson’s rookie season).

Negotiations failed for his return to Dallas after the championship season and was signed by Minnesota where he had a three-season (2011-2014) average of 10.3 points and 4.5 assists in a backup role to Ricky Rubio. 

He returned to Dallas in 2014 until the Mavericks were forced to make cuts this season and released the 36-year old veteran to give more minutes for the much younger and taller Jalen Brunson and Trey Burke, both rotating for Luka Doncic.  He leaves the NBA with a respectable career averages of 8.9 points and 3.9 assists.

As a sign of their appreciation, the Mavericks organization made Barea their 16th player with a guaranteed contract, signing him to a one-year, veteran’s minimum of $2.6 million.  Team owner Mark Cuban gifted JJ with the deal prior to releasing him last month for his contributions as an important role player during their 2011 title run.

With 637 games, Barea, a Mavs crowd favorite, ranks fifth in the team’s history of most games played behind Dirk Nowitzki, Brad Davis, Derek Harper and Rolando Blackman.

He recently signed a deal with Estudiantes of the Liga ACB, Spain’s top professional basketball league and is scheduled to join the team for training camp within the week.   The contract has an opt-out clause which allows him to go back to the NBA.  Liga ACB ends its season a few weeks before the NBA does, so if an offer comes to him for the postseason, Barrea can return stateside.

As per ESPN’s Tim McMahon, Barea is “determined” to play in the NBA and will use his time in the Spanish league displaying his skills against quality opponents.  With injuries and Covid-19 infections upsetting team lineups, there’s a strong chance of point guard needs come playoff time.

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