Wolves, J.J. Barea reach contract agreement
- Blog Post by: Jerry Zgoda
- December 12, 2011 - 1:01 PM
The Wolves are working this morning to finalize a contract agreement with unrestricted free agent J.J. Barea, a source confirms.
NBA.com's David Aldridge first reported this morning that the two sides were nearing an agreement.
ESPN.com reported that it's a four-year, $19 million deal.
I don't have any indication that it's a precursor to another imminent move, such as trading for Kevin Martin or signing Jamal Crawford.
They don't have any more cap room to sign anybody unless they'd make other moves to clear cap space or get slightly over the cap so they get that full $5 million mid-level exception.
The Wolves have been searching for another ball-handling, play-making guard, just didn't think it'd be another point guard.
I don't think this necessarily means the Wolves have plans to trade Luke Ridnour immediately either and don't worry Wolves fans, it doesn't mean that they're planning to start Barea over Ricky Rubio.
Barea and Rubio share the same player-rep agency headed by Dan Fegan, so this was obviously was done with Ricky's knowledge.
Barea's presence gives Rubio a Spanish-speaking teammate in the locker room.
More importantly, it gives the Wolves a tough waterbug ball handler who can penetrate and dish to this collection of shooters the Wolves have assembled.
I'm guessing they must think Rubio's size in defending 2 guards will allow him and Barea to play some together.
This move will give the Wolves 16 players on the roster, which means somebody will have to go if you're assuming second-round pick Malcolm Lee signs and stays.
So either they make a 2-for-1 deal or release either Lazar Hayward or Wayne Ellington.
The Knicks also pursued Barea in recent days, but could only offer the 2-year, $5 million "room" exception.
Dallas offered Barea a one-year contract believed to be worth $8 million to return, but wouldn't commit to more than one season because it wants to keep its salary-cap options open.
The Wolves were about $5 million under the salary cap before reaching agreement with Barea.
Also, the Wolves officially announced the signing of No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams today. The two sides reached agreement and filed the paperwork with the league two days ago, but I think there's a bit of a backlog
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