When J.J. Barea signed with Estudiantes in Spain this week, a report at the time indicated that he hadn’t given up on the possibility of playing in the NBA later this year. The terms of his new deal will allow for that possibility, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, who tweets that Barea’s contract includes an NBA out.
The exact terms of the opt-out haven’t been specified. As such, it’s not clear whether Barea will be able to return stateside for an NBA opportunity at any time in the coming months or if there’s a specific window during which he’d be able to exercise that out. Either way, Spain’s Liga ACB is scheduled to end its regular season a little before the NBA does, so Barea should be able to return for the postseason if he receives a contract offer.
MacMahon notes that Barea “remains determined” to play in the NBA this season and will look to use his time in Spain’s top basketball league as a showcase against strong competition.
Barea, 36, had his 2018/19 season cut short by a torn Achilles, but was relatively productive in limited minutes upon returning in ’19/20. He averaged 7.7 PPG and 3.9 APG with a .376 3PT% in 29 games (15.5 MPG) for the Mavericks. A roster crunch in Dallas prevented him from earning a spot on this season’s squad.
Given how significantly NBA depth charts have already been shaken up by injuries and COVID-19 in the first five weeks of the season, it seems likely that there will be teams in need of point guard depth who give Barea a look by the spring.