Timberwolves Finalizing Buyout of J.J. Barea
The Minnesota Timberwolves are said to be in the final stages of finalizing a buyout of point guard J.J. Barea’s contract.
Still One Man Over
With barely 24 hours before Monday’s deadline for the submission of the team’s final regular season lineup, the Minnesota Timberwolves are still one man over the 15 player roster limit. The Wolves had earlier cut rookie guard Brady Heslip on Saturday to trim their roster to 16 players. Heslip, a Baylor product, and seven footer Kyrlo Fesenko of Ukraine were invited to join the Timberwolves training camp earlier this offseason.
Needing one more cut, the Wolves are reportedly looking at the 30-year old Puerto Rican national team standout who still has $4.5M due in the final year of his contract. Barea, who is playing his ninth NBA season, backed up Ricky Rubio at point guard last season but with the transformation of Rubio into the team’s leader and the signing of free agent point guard Mo Williams, Barea could be out of the Wolves rotation this season with very limited minutes.
A Good Showing in the Preseason
Minnesota Timberwolves President for Basketball Operations and Head Coach Flip Saunders has been “complimentary about Barea’s good showing in the preseason. Barea has been averaging 7.8 points, 6.5 assists, 2 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game in 20 minutes of action in four preseason games.
Barea spent his first five seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, and was a key contributor during their 2011 title run. He has been a solid back up in his eight year career where he’s put up 8.3 points, 3.4 assists and 2.0 rebounds per game. Barea is also a career .347 three point shooter.
As the situation in Minnesota developed, the Dallas Mavericks are reportedly eyeing to re-sign Barea once he gets waived by the Timberwolves. In doing so, the Dallas Mavericks would have to release one player to find a spot for their former back up point guard. League sources are saying that the Mavericks will waive or trade guard Gal Mekel or big man Greg Smith to make room for Barea.
If that is indeed the direction that the Mavericks are going, then team owner Mark Cuban is indeed planning a reunion for Dirk Nowitzki’s final championship run. Early in the summer, the Mavericks traded for center Tyson Chadler, who was the heart and soul of their 2011 championship squad. By bringing back Barea, Nowitzki will have two of his 2011 cohorts along with him for his last run at an NBA championship.
Dilemma at One
Bringing back Barea may be a sentimental move and emotional boost, but it does create a big dilemma at the one guard spot. The Mavericks currently have a point guard overload with Raymond Felton, Devin Harris, Jameer Nelson and Gal Mekel. But even if they ship out Mekel and play Devin Harris at the two guard spot, Barea would still be the third point guard in that solid backcourt. Although that could be a luxury and an insurance policy at the same time, shuffling minutes among those three able floor generals could be difficult for Dallas coach Rick Carlisle.
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