‘Tough day’ for Mavs as team releases fan-favorite guard Barea
Seemingly just as quickly as he was signed, J.J. Barea was released by the Dallas Mavericks. On Thursday, the team announced the release of the veteran point guard, fan-favorite, and former 2011 NBA Champion as a part of the franchise.
“It still hasn’t hit me, but I woke up today super happy,” Barea said. “It’s been an amazing time here in Dallas. I wouldn’t change anything. But it’s a tough day. It’s the end of me as a player in Dallas, but [I have] nothing but good memories.”
Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said he and the organization wanted to reward Barea for his accomplishments as well as his contributions during the 11 seasons he played in Dallas. Barea, who was a key reserve for the 2010-11 title team, remains determined to play this year in his last season as a player. After that, Barea plans to transition into a new career as an NBA coach.
“We’ve had an incredible, amazing ride with J.J.,” Nelson said. “He, in a lot of respects, has been the heart and soul for us for many, many years and certainly the pride of Puerto Rico … I think with the fact that we’re on a little bit of a younger direction, let’s call it, with our backup point guard prospects, certainly the writing was on the wall. We all understood that coming in. I think it was really more of an appreciation for J.J. and the amazing things he’s done in his career, why we brought him back as the 16th player on this roster and gave him a thank-you of sorts.”
Even though he is a native of Puerto Rico, Barea said he will always have plenty of love for his NBA home in Dallas.
“Dallas is my second home after Puerto Rico,” Barea said, his voice cracking and eyes welling up with tears. “It’s just special, man. It’s the happiest place that I ever played basketball.”
To his point, Barea ranks fifth all-time in franchise history with 637 total games played. Referred to as a “Mavs Legend” by team owner Mark Cuban, Barea’s release was made official Thursday afternoon. For more sports coverage, click here.