J.J. Barea

Mavs Notes: Doncic, Carlisle, DSJ, Porzingis, Barea

Dennis Smith Jr., the Mavericks‘ lottery pick a year before the team selected Luka Doncic, quickly bonded with his new teammate upon Doncic’s arrival in 2018, forming an off-the-court friendship. However, Dallas’ front office and then-coach Rick Carlisle didn’t believe the two guards were an on-court fit and were already planning to “blow it up,” according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, who says Carlisle had wanted to draft Donovan Mitchell in 2017 and had quickly soured on Smith.

In the months before Smith was sent to New York in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, Carlisle was hard on the former N.C. State standout — he accused DSJ of being jealous of Doncic and seemed determined to make him miserable, multiple former players and staffers told ESPN. The treatment was “appalling” to Doncic, who resented Carlisle’s apparent desire to pit him against his teammate and friend, writes MacMahon.

As MacMahon outlines, the Smith situation represented the beginning of years-long tension between Carlisle and Doncic.

“It wasn’t really about how Rick treated Luka,” a Mavs player on the 2018/19 team told ESPN. “Luka hated how Rick treated other people.”

For what it’s worth, Smith replied to MacMahon’s article on Twitter and said the details about his time in Dallas were “spot on,” adding, “Y’all don’t even know the half.”

Here are a few more of the most interesting details from the ESPN report, which is worth checking out in full:

  • Shortly before he resigned as the Mavericks’ head coach, Carlisle – who had two years left on his contract – approached team owner Mark Cuban about the possibility of an extension, but was shot down, says MacMahon. Carlisle, recognizing that he’d likely enter the 2021/22 season on the hot seat if he remained in Dallas, decided to leave once he was confident he’d be able to quickly secure another head coaching job. Doncic never called for Carlisle’s dismissal, sources tell ESPN.
  • According to MacMahon, the Mavericks came to regret releasing J.J. Barea prior to the 2020/21 season, since the veteran guard had served as “connective tissue” between Doncic and Carlisle and between Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, helping manage those relationships. When Doncic and Porzingis had communication issues last season, Carlisle wasn’t in position to smooth them over since he didn’t have a great relationship with either player, MacMahon adds.
  • Porzingis was so disillusioned entering the 2021 offseason that he would’ve welcomed a trade, MacMahon reports. However, the big man has felt rejuvenated since Carlisle’s departure under new head coach Jason Kidd, who was the only candidate the Mavs seriously considered during their coaching search, per MacMahon.

Mavs To Hire Jared Dudley As Assistant Coach

12:49pm: Dudley has agreed to join the Mavericks’ coaching staff, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

8:30am: The Mavericks are in advanced discussions with veteran forward Jared Dudley about hiring him as an assistant coach on Jason Kidd‘s staff, according to NBA reporter Marc Stein (Twitter link).

Dudley, 36, has appeared in over 900 NBA regular season games since entering the league in 2007. He began his career in Charlotte, then spent time with the Suns, Clippers, Bucks, Wizards, Suns, Nets, and Lakers over the course of 14 seasons.

However, Dudley has seen his playing time decline significantly in recent years. In 2020/21, he logged just 81 total minutes in 12 games for the Lakers, and a report last week indicated that L.A. wasn’t expected to re-sign him. Now, it seems as if he’s prepared to move onto the next stage of his career.

While Kidd and Dudley never played together, they have plenty of history. Dudley played for Milwaukee in 2014/15 when Kidd was the head coach, and the Hall-of-Fame point guard was an assistant with the Lakers for the past two years.

Kidd’s coaching staff is still taking shape, but it appears he’s making it a priority to add at least a couple assistants with playing experience. J.J. Barea and Tyson Chandler are among the other NBA vets who have been mentioned as possible candidates.

Southwest Notes: Lowry, Louzada, Barea, Omoruyi

The Mavericks were runners-up to the Heat in the free agency competition for Kyle Lowry, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. A source tells Jackson that the Mavs were willing to pay what Lowry was seeking and he was intrigued by the possibility of playing in Dallas, but his first choice was to join Jimmy Butler in Miami. Lowry wound up getting $85MM over three years, and joined the Heat in a sign-and-trade.

The Pelicans were also interested in Lowry and were willing to offer $90MM or more for three seasons, Jackson adds. However, Jackson’s source says Lowry didn’t give strong consideration to New Orleans.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The new four-year deal for Pelicans swingman Didi Louzada is valued at about $7.69MM, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN. The first two seasons are fully guaranteed and the final two are non-guaranteed. New Orleans held non-Bird rights on Louzada and his contract starts at 120% of the $1.489MM minimum, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Marks notes that the Pelicans still have their entire $9.5MM mid-level exception available, along with a $17.1MM trade exception.
  • Longtime Mavericks player J.J. Barea will return to the organization in some capacity, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). The exact role hasn’t been finalized for Barea, who spent 11 of his 14 NBA seasons with the Mavs. “I’m going to be involved, and I’m definitely excited,” said Barea, who served as an unofficial assistant coach in today’s Summer League game.
  • Rookie forward Eugene Omoruyi talked to Townsend after signing a two-way contract with the Mavericks on Friday (video link).

Western Notes: Barea, Mavs, Wolves, Unseld, Warriors, Schröder

Jason Kidd, who has reached a deal to become Dallas’ new head coach, may not be the only former Mavericks point guard patrolling the team’s sidelines in 2021/22. According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link), J.J. Barea has had preliminary discussions about the possibility of joining Kidd’s coaching staff.

Barea has no formal coaching experience, having played in the NBA up until last year and in international leagues during the 2020/21 season. However, as MacMahon observes, the veteran guard has strong relationships with many members of the Mavericks’ organization – including Luka Doncic – and the team missed his presence this past season.

Another member of that 2011 Mavericks title team is also a candidate to join Kidd’s staff, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News, who tweets that Jason Terry is in the mix for a role.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • The Timberwolves have issued a press release announcing Chris Finch‘s front bench assistants for the 2021/22 season. Joseph Blair and Pablo Prigioni will return, while the team has also added Micah Nori, as was rumored earlier this month. Nori spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach in Detroit.
  • Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said today that he’s been reaching out to teams with head coaching vacancies to advocate for his assistant coach Wes Unseld Jr. (Twitter link via Mike Singer of The Athletic). Unseld has been bypassed in past coaching searches, but Malone said he believes that’s “going to change this summer.”
  • Anthony Slater of The Athletic weighs what the Warriors could do with the No. 7 and No. 14 picks in this year’s draft, exploring scenarios in which they trade up, move down, or deal one or both of their selections for veteran help.
  • Within a mailbag for The Athletic, Jovan Buha tries to determine what a fair deal for Lakers UFA-to-be Dennis Schröder might look like, suggesting he’d be fine with $20MM per year on a shorter-term contract, but would be hesitant to go that high for four years.

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.