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J.J. Barea: Where is the former undrafted NBA star now?

J.J. Barea: Where is the former undrafted NBA star now?
Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea (5) passes the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first quarter at Target Center. (Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports via Imagn Sports Content Services, LLC)
Isaiah Butler

DALLAS (BVM) — Players like Ben Wallace, John Starks and Connie Hawkins are just a few undrafted players to become NBA legends. After going undrafted in the 2006 NBA Draft, J.J. Barea followed in their footsteps and became a dependable player for 14 years. 

J.J. Barea’s early life, college career 

Born in Puerto Rico, Barea didn’t start playing basketball until 2001. That year he moved to Florida, where he attended Miami Christian High School. With the Victors, Barea averaged 20 points, six rebounds and eight assists. The team went 38-2 and captured the state title.

However, playing at the 1A level, Barea didn’t attract the attention of Power 5 schools. Instead, Barea found interest in DI school Northeastern University. Barea quickly made an impact on the court and helped the Huskies upset Boston College in his first collegiate season.

In his senior season (2005-06), Barea enhanced his play and earned an AP All-American honorable mention as well as the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year. 

Barea finished his career as the program’s second all-time leading scorer (2,209 points) behind Reggie Lewis. He was also the first player since the 1997-98 season to rank in the top 10 for both scoring and assists

J.J. Barea’s professional career  

Barea began his NBA career on a low note, going undrafted in the 2006 NBA Draft. He joined the Golden State Warriors Summer League team, where he averaged 6.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists. He went on to join the Dallas Mavericks Summer League team and averaged 12 points and 6.7 assists. With his play on the court, the Mavericks signed him to the team. Barea made his NBA debut on Nov. 4, 2006, in a loss to the Houston Rockets.

Barea’s NBA career appeared to be short-lived after being assigned to Dallas’ D-League team in January 2007. However, averaging 27.3 points, 7.8 assists and five rebounds in eight games, Barea quickly showed that he could compete in the NBA. 

His NBA journey continued in Dallas during the 2007-08 season. That year, Barea appeared in 44 games averaging 4.3 points, 1.3 assists and 1.1 rebounds. He’d be re-signed by the Mavericks during the offseason in 2008. Barea appeared in 238 games in the following three seasons and averaged 8.3 points, 3.5 assists and two rebounds. Barea notably impacted each game coming off the bench, especially in the 2011 NBA playoffs, where the Mavs met the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.  

Barea played 128 total minutes and, coming off the bench, averaged 8.8 points, 3.2 assists and 2.2 rebounds. His contributions helped the Mavericks win their first title in team history.

Following the 2010-11 season, Barea and the Mavericks failed to reach an extension. This allowed Barea to become a free agent. He ended up signing a three-year, $19 million deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves

Barea suited up for the Timberwolves for three seasons and averaged 10.1 points, 4.3 assists and 2.4 rebounds. After a short, but somewhat successful stint, Barea was released by Minnesota before the start of the 2014 season. 

J.J. Barea Minnesota Timberwolves
Minnesota Timberwolves guard J.J. Barea (11) drives against the Washington Wizards at Target Center. The Timberwolves defeated the Washington Wizards 120-98. (Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports via Imagn Sports Content Services, LLC)

Barea quickly found his way back to Dallas and signed a four-year, $16 million deal with the team. Barea continued his steady play for four seasons until he suffered an Achilles injury in January 2019. He recovered in time to make his debut for the 2019-20 season. He’d play his final 29 games before being released by the Mavericks in December. 

Barea’s 14 seasons in the NBA were full of success. Over his career, he averaged 8.6 points, 3.8 assists and two rebounds.

J.J. Barea’s net worth and career earnings 

Throughout his career, Barea made over $41 million. He’s estimated to have a net worth of around $11 million, thanks to his 14 seasons in the NBA. 

J.J. Barea after the NBA

Barea continued to enjoy basketball following his days in the NBA. In 2021, Barea traveled to Spain to play for Movistar Estudiantes. He’d only compete in 18 games before being released. 

Barea then returned to the Baloncesto Superior Nacional (BSN). Back in Puerto Rico, Barea averaged 12.4 points and five assists. He signed a contract to continue playing in the league in February 2022. Barea announced his retirement from professional basketball five months later.

Barea can potentially find more success on the basketball court as a coach, maybe even in a return to Dallas.