J.J. Barea

Mavs Notes: Hardaway, Arena Capacity, Doncic-KP, Barea

Mavericks swingman Tim Hardaway Jr. has had a terrific year for Dallas, but Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News wonders if the reserve wing will look for greater opportunity in unrestricted free agency this summer. Hardaway is in the final season of a four-year, $71MM deal he initially inked with the Knicks.

Hardaway has been primarily a bench contributor to the Mavericks this season, having been a reserve in 49 of the 70 games he has played. Townsend notes that Hardaway’s play has positioned him as a potential Sixth Man of the Year candidate for 2020/21. “If I go on the bench, I think this bench that we have is deep,” Hardaway said. “Whether I’m starting, whether I’m coming off the bench, it’s just me trying to be aggressive and be the best basketball player I can be for the team.”

“(Mavericks head coach) Rick Carlisle’s done a great job with him,” raved Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue. “He’s playing at a high level right now. I think he’s their X-factor.” 

There’s more out of Dallas:

  • The capacity of the Mavericks’ home arena, American Airlines Center, has been boosted to 12,000 fans for the playoffs, writes Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. Team owner Mark Cuban said he would prefer to have full-capacity crowds, but amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the NBA is still imposing crowd capacity restrictions. “Now we know we’ll be at at least (12,000), and we’re pushing if we can get some modifications done to the arena in time to get to (15,000),” Cuban said in an interview with local radio station 105.3 KRLD-FM The Fan.
  • The ability of Mavericks All-Star guard Luka Doncic and forward Kristaps Porzingis to thrive alongside one another will not only dictate the team’s playoff ceiling this spring, but will have an impact on the team’s long-term future, writes Tim Cato of The Athletic.
  • Former Mavericks reserve point guard J.J. Barea, who recently joined Cangrejeros de Santurce in his native Puerto Rico, spoke with Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News in an extended conversation. Barea notes that his NBA career appears close to over, but he would relish the opportunity to perhaps return to Dallas as an assistant coach. “I want to stay in contact with the team for the next couple years, and then definitely, when a coaching job opens up, I want to keep getting my experience ready for coaching,” Barea said. “I would love to work for the Mavericks and be in Dallas and be a part of the Mavericks forever.”

And-Ones: Barea, Marijuana Testing, Overtime Elite

Veteran guard J.J. Barea has returned to his native Puerto Rico, having signed with Cangrejeros de Santurce, as our JD Shaw relays (via Twitter). The return of Barea, who previously played for the club in 2006, coincided with an announcement that the team is now co-owned by Puerto Rican music star Bad Bunny.

After being waived by the Mavericks in December, Barea spent most of the 2020/21 season with Estudiantes in Spain, having just left the club earlier this month. The 36-year-old was previously said to be determined to make it back to the NBA, but either those plans changed or there were no opportunities available. Instead, he’ll head back to Puerto Rico, where his professional career first begin in 2001.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Candace Buckner of The Washington Post spoke to several NBA players about the unprecedented restrictions and regulations in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that made the 2020/21 season a lonely and taxing one.
  • The NBA has halted its random tests for marijuana use since the 2019/20 season went on hiatus last March, but the 57 players who are candidates to represent Team USA in the Olympics will be subject to marijuana testing as of next Tuesday, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. According to Vardon, a league memo informing teams of the policy suggests that players who will represent other countries in the Olympics should check with team officials to see if they’ll be subject to the same tests.
  • The Overtime Elite basketball league for top high school prospects will operate out of Atlanta beginning this September, the league announced today in a press release. According to the announcement, planning is underway to construct a new 103,000-square-foot facility where OTE’s players will train, study, and compete. We previously shared some details on the new program, which hired former NBA guard Kevin Ollie as its head coach.

And-Ones: Barea, Schedule, COVID-19, Future Rankings

Due to family-related commitments, veteran guard J.J. Barea had to leave Spanish club Estudiantes before the team’s season formally ends, he announced on Instagram (hat tip to Sportando). Barea signed back in January to spent the season in Spain after being waived by Dallas in December.

Reports earlier this year indicated that Barea’s contract with Estudiantes included an NBA out and that he remained “determined” to make it back to the NBA. Teams technically have until Sunday to sign free agents, and Barea would be postseason-eligible if he returns, but there has been no indication so far that an NBA club intends to sign him.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the league:

  • The NBA has formally announced the start times for its Saturday and Sunday games. There was reportedly some consideration given to having all of Sunday’s games start around the same time in the afternoon to avoid last-minute tanking, but logistical concerns – including those related to COVID testing – prevented that from happening. Most of Sunday’s games will tip off in the evening.
  • The NBA and NBPA announced on Wednesday that only one of the 497 players tested for COVID-19 since May 5 returned a new confirmed positive test. That’s an encouraging result with the playoffs around the corner — it’s the lowest weekly total among players since April 7-14.
  • Speaking of the playoffs and COVID-19, the NBA is still weighing how to handle positive tests in the postseason to avoid the risk of potential spread, according to Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports, who says the league has discussed the possibility of delaying postseason games if necessary.
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks and Kevin Pelton (Insider link) have updated their future power rankings, which rank the NBA’s teams based on their projected success for the next three seasons beyond 2020/21. The Nets and Clippers sit atop the list, with the Knicks moving all the way up from No. 27 to No. 7. The Cavaliers continue to hold the bottom spot, while the Timberwolves have slipped to No. 29.

J.J. Barea’s Contract In Spain Has NBA Out

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.

J.J. Barea Signs With Team In Spain

Former Mavericks guard and NBA champion J.J. Barea has signed a deal to play for Estudiantes in Spain’s Liga ACB, tweets Marc Stein of the New York Times (Twitter link).

Dallas had signed Barea to a veteran’s minimum deal in November before waiving their longtime guard due to a roster crunch. Owner Mark Cuban indicated the offer was extended to Barea as a reward for his 11 years of service to the club.

Last season with the Mavericks, Barea averaged 7.7 PPG and 3.9 APG in 15.5 MPG across 29 regular-season contests. The 2019/20 campaign was Barea’s return from a torn Achilles tendon, which he suffered back in January 2019.

As Stein notes (via Twitter), Barea still hopes to return to the NBA and could use his time in Spain as a showcase to NBA teams ahead of the May 18 start date for the playoffs, since Estudiantes’ season might end before that.

And-Ones: International Games, ASG, Barea, Marijuana, Swanigan

While the NBA often plays preseason games in China and regular season games in Mexico and Europe, that won’t be possible during the 2020/21 season due to the coronavirus — plans for a regular season contest in Paris had to be tabled. However, as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press writes, the league is looking into scenarios that would allow games to be played overseas again in ’21/22.

“We do anticipate that once it becomes healthy and safe to be able to do that that we’ll return to a schedule of international preseason and regular-season games,” deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said.

Meanwhile, the 2021 All-Star Game is also in jeopardy as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but it sounds like the NBA hasn’t entirely ruled out the possibility that some sort of All-Star event could still take place. Commissioner Adam Silver said on TNT on Tuesday that the status of the All-Star Game is “yet to be decided depending on how things go,” as Adam Zagoria of Forbes tweets.

Here are more odds and ends from around the NBA:

  • Although no deal appears imminent for J.J. Barea, the veteran free agent guard is staying in game shape and remains intent on playing this season, either in the U.S. or internationally, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.
  • It seems likely that the NBA and NBPA will eventually negotiate the reduction or removal of marijuana-related penalties in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, but Adam Silver is wary of creating issues for players in cities where the drug has not yet been legalized or decriminalized, writes Bill Shea of The Athletic. “We want to make sure we’re not creating a trap for our players and putting in place rules that will put them in the crosshairs of the law,” Silver said.
  • NBPA executive director Michele Roberts made it clear, within Shea’s story, that she’ll push for the removal of marijuana testing before the current CBA expires. “I don’t see any reason to test for marijuana or cannabis. That’s just nuts. Same for alcohol,” Roberts said. “Are we in the 21st century or what? What are we doing here? I think it’s absurd.”
  • Speaking of marijuana, former Trail Blazers forward Caleb Swanigan received a reminder that he’s not in Oregon anymore, having been arrested for marijuana possession early on Wednesday morning in Indiana, reports Justin L. Mack of The Indianapolis Star. Police said they found over three pounds of marijuana in Swanigan’s vehicle following a traffic stop.

Mavericks Waive J.J. Barea

DECEMBER 10: The Mavericks have officially waived Barea, the team announced in a press release.

Speaking to reporters earlier in the day, general manager Donnie Nelson called it a “sad day in Mavs-ville,” referring to Barea as the longtime “heart and soul” of the club (Twitter link via Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News).

DECEMBER 9: Long-time Mavericks reserve point guard J.J. Barea will be waived by Dallas tomorrow, sources tell Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

MacMahon reports that team owner Marc Cuban was aware the Mavericks would most likely release Barea after inking him to a one-year, $2.56MM veteran’s minimum contract last month, but desired to extend him an offer as a reward for the 5’10” Barea’s 11-year tenure with Dallas.

The 36-year-old Barea will now look for a new home in the league, per MacMahon. MacMahon also notes that Cuban hopes to find an organizational position for Barea once his playing career concludes. The Mavericks had 16 players on guaranteed contracts for their 15-man regular season roster, and waiving Barea made the most basketball sense, per Bobby Marks of ESPN (via Twitter).

Between the younger Jalen Brunson and Trey Burke, the Mavericks clearly felt secure enough in their backup point guard rotation behind All-Star lead ball handler Luka Dončić. Just last week, Rick Carlisle cited Barea’s locker room leadership as the club’s motivation to bring him back.

Last season for Dallas, Barea averaged 7.7 PPG and 3.9 APG in 15.5 MPG across 29 regular-season games. The 2019/20 season marked Barea’s return from a torn Achilles tendon incurred in January 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mavs Notes: Richardson, Brunson, Powell, Crowder, Barea

We heard prior to the offseason that the Mavericks would be prioritizing adding toughness to their roster this fall, and head coach Rick Carlisle confirmed as much this week, telling reporters that the club sought players with an “edge” (Twitter link via Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News). The Mavs view Josh Richardson as one player who fits that bill.

I don’t really take well to my brothers being messed with,” the former Sixer said on Tuesday when asked about the toughness he brings to the club (Twitter link via Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News).

Beyond his willingness to play with an “edge,” Richardson also appealed to the Mavs for a handful of other reasons, as Carlisle explained.

He’s a high-level defensive player, which is something that we needed,” said the Mavs’ head coach (Twitter link via Townsend). “We’ve been looking for a guy who can guard point guards and add scoring off the ball. … He’s a guy from afar who I’ve always thought would be a great fit with Luka Doncic.”

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • After missing the end of last season due to a shoulder injury, reserve point guard Jalen Brunson said on Wednesday that he’s “100%” and ready to go, tweets Caplan.
  • Dwight Powell (Achilles) said on Wednesday that he’s also a “full go” for the 2020/21 season. As Tim MacMahon of ESPN notes (via Twitter), Powell will likely open the year as the Mavericks’ starting center with Kristaps Porzingis sidelined.
  • During an appearance on Burns & Gambo in on Arizona Sports 98.7 (audio link via Nick Angstadt of Locked on Mavs), Jae Crowder said that he turned down more money from the Mavericks to sign with the Suns, since he envisions a bigger role for himself in Phoenix. It’s not clear if Dallas was offering Crowder – who signed a three-year, $29MM deal – more money in 2020/21 or more money overall. The latter seems unlikely, since the Mavs appear to be preserving their 2021 cap room, but they would’ve needed to sign-and-trade for Crowder to top the Suns’ mid-level offer.
  • Carlisle said on Tuesday that the Mavericks wanted to bring back J.J. Barea due to his experience, leadership, and ability to command respect in the locker room (Twitter link via Caplan).
  • In case you missed it, Doncic became the first player to have a rookie scale team option for the 2021/22 season exercised.

Mavericks Re-Sign J.J. Barea

DECEMBER 1: The signing is official, according to the team’s PR department (Twitter link).

NOVEMBER 27: Shams Charania of The Athletic confirms (via Twitter) that Barea’s new guaranteed one-year deal will be worth the veteran’s minimum. He’ll earn $2.56MM, with a cap hit of $1.62MM.

NOVEMBER 22: Barea will get a guaranteed contract from the Mavs, per Towsend (Twitter link). Considering he’s coming off a one-year, minimum-salary deal, it’s a safe bet that Barea will sign the same contract this time around.

NOVEMBER 21: The Mavericks are planning to re-sign veteran guard J.J. Barea, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets.

Barea, 36, has seen his role diminish and he’s also dealt with some injuries over the past two seasons but he remains a fan favorite. He appeared in 29 regular-season games last season, including six starts, and averaged 7.7 PPG and 3.9 APG in 15.5 MPG.

Dallas agreed to a three-year deal with another free agent guard, Trey Burke, so Barea would many serve as insurance in case of backcourt injuries. It also has Jalen Brunson as a point guard option behind star Luka Doncic.

Dallas has agreed to trade another guard, Delon Wright, in a three-team swap and Townsend speculates the Mavs might make more backcourt moves to clear a logjam. Barea has been on Dallas’ roster since the 2014/15 season.

Western Notes: Beverley, Rondo, Barea, Mavericks

The Clippers have officially listed starting point guard Patrick Beverley as questionable for Thursday’s Western Conference semifinals Game 1 against the Nuggets, per Mark Medina of USA TODAY (Twitter link).

The veteran point guard has missed five straight games for Los Angeles with a nagging left calf injury. In his absence, the Clippers turned to second-year combo guard Landry Shamet, who started in four games against the Mavericks in their first-round series. As a starter, the former Wichita State standout averaged 11.5 PPG and shot 50 percent from three-point range.

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was asked about Beverely’s potential return on Wednesday. “You’ll see him for sure (in the series),” he said (h/t Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN). “I’m pretty sure tomorrow (for Game 1), but I can’t guarantee that.” Los Angeles will be hoping that the defensive-minded point guard can slow down Denver’s dynamic point guard Jamal Murray.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said on Monday that point guard Rajon Rondo practiced and should be available in the second round. Rondo has not played a single game in the bubble due to a broken thumb, which he suffered in July.
  • Eddie Sefko of Mavericks.com looked at three keys areas in which Dallas needs to improve at in the offseason. Sefko suggested that the Mavericks need an enforcer like Marcus Morris of the Clippers, who was a factor on the boards and gave Dallas fits in the first round. While they showed improvement from last season in the rebounding department, the Mavs were outrebounded by three rebounds per game in their first-round series versus Los Angeles, Sefko notes.
  • Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea could possibly be playing overseas next season, according to Christian Santaella, who is a close friend of the 36-year-old. Santaella told elnuevodia.com that three teams from Liga ACB are interested in Barea’s services. The veteran point guard did not see significant playing time this season for Dallas, only averaging 15.5 MPG in 29 games.