With Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea set to enter free agency in the offseason, reports are now suggesting that there are three teams in Spain’s Liga ACB that are interested in signing the veteran for the upcoming campaign.
As reported on Wednesday by Hoops Hype, Barea was supposedly informed by his friend, Puerto Rican agent Christian Santaella, that the unnamed clubs were interested in the 36-year-old’s services. The outlet translated an original Spanish-language report from El Nuevo Dia, noting that Santaella claimed to have had conversations with the teams over the past two weeks and had confirmed their interest in the longtime Mavericks mainstay.
Although a move to Liga ACB — a league that’s generally thought of as the second-strongest in the world— could be a good opportunity for Barea to close out his playing career on a high note, Hoops Hype further cited the El Nuevo Dia report, which claimed that the reserve guard still hopes to return to the NBA after about one or two seasons playing in Spain.
“I think some NBA team is going to offer him a one-year deal. In the worst case scenario, he would go to play in the ACB where there are teams that have asked for him. I imagine he is going to rest for a while and in November and December he will decide where he is going to play. I don’t see him retiring right now,” read the outlet’s translation of Santaella’s comments to El Nuevo Dia.
Given the lack of information on the three Spanish clubs that are purportedly looking to sign Barea, the publication speculated that Real Madrid could “make sense” as a future destination, amid rumors that point guard Facundo Campazzo might soon be trying his luck in the NBA.
A 14-year NBA veteran who won a championship with Dallas in 2011, Barea has played 11 seasons with the Mavericks and three with the Minnesota Timberwolves. During the 2019-20 regular season, he saw action in 29 games, averaging 7.7 points in 15.5 minutes per contest, but was barely used in the playoffs, where he played a total of just five minutes as the Mavericks lost their first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers.
As pointed out by Hoops Hype, the new report added to rumors that Barea was “frustrated” with his lack of playing time in 2019-20 and felt that he could still contribute on the court. It was also noted that the Mavs were reportedly planning to have him shift to a coaching role and that he still doesn’t appear ready for such a career move.