The Dallas Mavericks put an end to an era during training camp in 2020 when they waived J.J. Barea. He spent 11 seasons with the Mavs, including being a key piece on the 2011 championship team. It was an emotional farewell press conference for the Mavericks legend, but he was determined to continue his playing career.
Dallas almost immediately regretted their decision. The Mavs kept Wesley Iwundu over Barea, but he rarely played before being shipped to the New Orleans Pelicans at the trade deadline. Dallas needed a veteran leader and locker room presence. Barea has a strong relationship with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. He would have helped the Mavericks tremendously both on and off the floor.
Barea played in both Spain and Puerto Rico after leaving the Mavs. He had his moments, but the 37-year-old decided to retire from playing. Owner Mark Cuban said Barea would have a job with the Mavs whenever he wanted it. It appears that is happening, but in what role?
Dallas Mavericks bring back J.J. Barea: What role is best this season?
Brad Townsend broke the news that Barea will return to the organization next season on Aug. 14 from the Las Vegas Summer League. See his Tweet below.
There are plenty of options for positions. Mavericks GOAT Dirk Nowitzki joined as a special advisor this summer. He had a hand in helping owner Mark Cuban hire president of basketball operations Nico Harrison and head coach Jason Kidd. Barea could fill a similar front-office role.
The 37-year-old former point guard could also join Shawn Marion and Rolando Blackman as former players that joined the Mavericks human resources department. Marion is an Inclusion Ambassador with Blackman holding the title of VP of Corporate Relations.
Scouting would be another area Barea could head into. The Mavs currently have former players Eduardo Najera and Nick Van Exel as part of their scouting staff.
Barea would likely excel in any role, but he appears best suited for coaching. He has some experience. In 2017, he was the head coach of Indios de Mayaguez in Puerto Rico. The 37-year-old has discussed his desire to coach too. Will there be space on Kidd’s staff? If not, Barea could fill a player development role. It would give him the chance to work with players, even if he is not on the bench during the games.
The 37-year-old would be a valuable asset on the coaching staff. He has a relationship with nearly every player on the team. Barea is close with Luka Doncic and often was the buffer between the Mavericks superstar and former head coach Rick Carlisle. That relationship could be massive as Dallas tries to make a deep playoff run this year.
Barea may be the key to improving the on floor relationship between Luka and KP. The 37-year-old has strong ties to both players. Can he get the Mavericks star duo clicking? Few likely have better odds.
It is fantastic to hear that J.J. Barea will be back with the Dallas Mavericks. Stay tuned to The Smoking Cuban for all the latest on his role, plus opinions and analysis that cannot be found anywhere else. Fans will not want to miss it.