Accompanying an offseason that has remade their image and added a jolt of lightning to a veteran squad, the Houston Rockets came to agreement with free-agent Jon Barry on Thursday, August 11. After spending 16 games with the woeful Atlanta Hawks at the start of last season, the Rockets acquired the 6'5", 210-pound combo guard in December in exchange for guard Tyronn Lue. Barry added another veteran presence to what had been the oldest roster in the NBA. With his sharp outside shooting and court savvy, Barry averaged 7 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. He came to embrace his role as the Rockets' designated gunner, shooting 45.1% from 3-point range (which set new franchise records for single-season and overall bests for three-point percentage), and 44.7% overall. Quickly acclimating himself as a Rockets fan favorite, Barry's hustle and relentless attitude on the court personified the Rockets as a team.
Ranked 9th in the NBA in three-point field-goal percentage (.429) in 1999-2000
Registered 11 points, career-highs of 8 rebounds and 5 steals, and 4 assists against the Minnesota Timberwolves on 2/21/99
Made his NBA Playoffs debut in 1998, appearing in 18 minutes in 7 games
Scored a 1997-98 season-high 13 points, in 17 minutes for the Lakers, against the Denver Nuggets on 2/19/98
"It's nice to be signed this early," Barry said. "If you would've asked me if I was retiring when I was in Atlanta last year, I was retiring. But when I came here, I was rejuvenated by this group of guys, by coach Van Gundy, and I had one of the most fulfilling years I've ever had, playing-wise."
Exclusive Rockets.com Q &A Session With Jon Barry
Despite being an unrestricted free agent, Barry never wavered in where he wanted to end his career. The potential and professionalism of last season's Rockets squad was an enticing enough draw to where it wasn't if the Rockets were going to sign the Georgia Tech grad, it was simply a matter of when.
"I knew I wanted to do it again (come back and play for Houston), immediately," Barry said. "I'm thankful to CD (Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson) for bringing me back and I'm looking forward to a better year."
Upon his arrival in Houston following the trade, Barry's presence was felt immediately. A player who prides himself on thinking and knowing the game to outsmart opponents, Barry played a big role in Houston's 38-15 record they put together during his 53 games with the team. Not only did Houston appreciate Barry's play, Barry was also grateful for being placed on a team that has the opportunity to play and contend for a NBA World Championship.
"'I still have a bitter taste in my mouth from last year (referring to the Rockets' Game 116-76 loss against Dallas that eliminated them from the playoffs)," Barry said. "I felt that we had a championship caliber team. With the addition of Stromile now, I think we can make another run at it. I thought last year that if (starting power forward) Juwan (Howard) was healthy, our season would've ended up different. I think we would've gotten by that first-round series and advanced. I see no reason why we can't do something special here."
With a squad that, at this point in the offseason has seen one new addition, one re-signing (with possibly another in the works with free agent center Dikembe Mutombo), and no defections, chemistry was an important ingredient for the Rockets' recipe for success last season, which played a role in Barry's return to the Rockets.
"We were very close," Barry said. "We got along great, there's no egos here, and I think a lot of us are in the latter years of our careers and just want to win.When you have guys that accept roles and want to win, you're not going to have any problems, and that's certainly the type of team that we have."
A 13-year veteran of the NBA, Barry has played for eight different teams (Milwaukee, Golden State, Atlanta, the LA Lakers, Sacramento, Detroit, Denver and Houston) and has participated in the playoffs with six of those respective teams. Holding career averages of 5.8 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, Barry provided a great spark off the bench for the Rockets and stands as the second significant offseason transaction the Rockets have made this summer. With newly acquired forward Stromile Swift and the return of Jon Barry, the Houston Rockets are gearing towards another exciting season. Rockets fans can now start purchasing tickets right here.