The adventure of Jose Juan Barea at Movistar Estudiantes, his first European experience after a 15-year career in the NBA, lasted exactly 410 minutes spread over 18 league games. With the collegiate team still at risk of relegation and with one game to close to the ACB regular season, the Puerto Rican point guard has announced his separation from the Magariños club. “I haven’t seen my family since February. I am desperate. I can not take anymore. Not having my wife and children here has been very strong, ”Barea announced in statements to Spokesman of Puerto Rico, anticipating the official note that Students will publish this Tuesday.
Barea, 36, NBA champion with Dallas in 2011, arrived in Spain in January, the land of his paternal grandparents, to complete a pending professional experience and at the same time rescue Movistar Estudiantes from their delicate qualifying situation. But, after just three months, the star signing leaves without completing the mission. The Magariños team is 17th in the ACB standings, above Bilbao Basket and Gipuzkoa, who occupy the relegation places, and have only one game to play, which will be played on the 21st of this month against San Pablo Burgos. But the two Basque teams, with five and three games respectively ahead, can still hunt him down. The family situation has weighed more than the sports one for Barea. “We reached an agreement and everything was fine. What remained was a match and you had to wait until the 21st. They delayed it until that date. But I told them that I had to go home now to see the children. Tomorrow I leave for Dallas ”, explained the Puerto Rican point guard, understanding that last day as an expendable procedure.
Barea leaves the ACB with 12.6 points, 1.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists and an average rating of 10.1 in his meager record. This same Tuesday he travels to Dallas, where his wife Viviana and their children José Juan, Paulina and Sebastián José are waiting for him. “It was a good experience and the doors were open,” added Barea, oblivious to the disaffection generated by his anticipated departure. The Puerto Rican base confirmed his idea of playing the pre-Olympic with his team to find the ticket to the Tokyo Games. “Now I take a break and then I will think about the next plans. I intend to play with the national team and I don’t know if I will return with the Santurce Cangrejeros (the team where he played before making the jump to the NBA) ”, he said.
Meanwhile, Estudiantes, who already experienced the departure of Italian Alessandro Gentile a month ago (to recover in his country from the aftermath of the covid) and the definitive discharge of Frenchman Edwin Jackson (after his relapse of the wrist injury), continues decapitalizing his squad before closing another season turned into torture. Its painful dynamics in recent times. The Ramiro club, one of the six founders of the National League, the current ACB, only fell outside the top eight places in the table in seven of the 54 editions held between 1956 and 2010, with four runners-up as major milestones ( in the courses 1962-1963, 1967-1968, 1980-1981 and 2003-2004) and always away from any qualifying rush. However, in the last decade the ordeal has not stopped, with two declines saved in extremis in the offices (in 2012 and 2016), a bankruptcy, several sporting lurch and a crisis that does not stop.
In the last 11 seasons, 11 coaches have paraded through Magariños (Luis Casimiro, Pepu Hernández, Trifón Poch, Txus Vidorreta, Diego Ocampo, Sergio Valdeolmillos, Salva Maldonado, Josep María Berrocal, Aleksandar Dzikic, Javier Zamora and the current occupant of the bench, Jota Cuspinera) and more than 80 signings with uneven background and little journey. Some of such little journey as JJ Barea, from the arrival as an idol to the fugitive march through family homesickness. In these years, the collegiate team has not surpassed the 11th place in the ACB classification, now it is in the 17th place pending certification of permanence. Barea will no longer be there to pitch in on the last day.