Year-Round News & Updates on the Minnesota Timberwolves
According to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune the Minnesota Timberwolves have reached a deal in principal with former NBA champ & 27-year-old point guard J.J. Barea. The deal is a 4-year $19M contract, which means the Wolves will be playing this quick, ball-handling guard until he's 31. He also joins a backcourt of Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour, Malcolm Lee, Wesley Johnson & Wayne Ellington. Zgoda does note, that the Wolves--at this time--don't intend to cut or trade Luke Ridnour. However with the Barea signing the Timberwolves have 16 players on the roster, which means someone has to go. The Timberwolves could try and work out a 2-for-1 or, more likely, they'll have to cut one of their fringe players: Wayne Ellington or Lazar Hayward.
Barea will be making roughly $5M a year for the next four years. This was the best offer he received--the Knicks were also looking to sign the flashy, slashing guard, but could only offer 2-years for roughly $2.5M a year.
Barea is a great ball-handler, who can penetrate and dish to the mass collection of shooters the TWolves have amassed (ie: Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, Derrick Williams, Wesley Johnson, Wayne Ellington, Anthony Tolliver etc.).
Barea is an unrestricted free agent, so we don't have to worry about the Mavericks matching any offer we make, however, the Mavericks basically announced earlier in the week, he wouldn't be back with their team.
I still haven't really decided how I feel about this signing. The pros? He's the ball-handler the TWolves wanted. He could play with Rubio, with Ricky's length he could defend two-guards on occasion. He's 27, so he's not exactly a seasoned veteran, however, he could be a big leader on a much younger team (reversing his role from last year). He's a champion, hopefully he can bring some of that to the table for Minnesota (not like Darko--won with Detroit in 2004).
At 5-11 he can't really play shooting guard. Is he still going to be the quick, slashing guard when he's 31? Did the TWolves need another point guard?--No!
In regards to Ridnour. Zgoda notes, he doesn't believe they Wolves have plans to trade the veteran point guard immediately, however that could change quickly. Also, there's no way that Barea will be starting over Ricky Rubio, basically guaranteed.
For Ricky, Barea's presence will add a Spanish-speaking teammate to the locker room? Could that be a small part of the signing. Maybe a small part....a very small part.
As noted before, I would've been much more comfortable with this signing had the Wolves offered him $3Mish a year, I just don't know if he's worthy of $5M a year, however, my opinion on that could easily change the first time he suits up and plays for the Wolves against the Bucks in their first preseason game on December 17th.
Hopefully he gets his contract finalized by today so he can practice with the team either today or tomorrow as he's already missed the first three days of training camp and the Wolves have just five days (including today) until they play their first preseason game.
OTHER NOTES: The Timberwolves officially announced the signing of the #2 overall pick: Derrick Williams today. The sides reached an agreement and the papers were filed with the League two days ago.
That's all for now, thanks for reading and remember to check back daily for all your TWolves news, information & updates all year round. Stay tuned tonight for a training camp Day 4 update as well as more news on the Barea signing! Thanks for reading & GO WOLVES!
A TWolves fan, bringing you the daily updates.