Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

Wolves introduce J.J. Barea

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves guards, Wolves players, Wolves news Updated: December 14, 2011 - 1:31 PM

The Wolves have called a 5:30 p.m. today to introduce a "new player."

Hmmmm....

Wonder who could that be?

J.J. Barea arrived in Minnesota last night and completed the details of his 4-year, $19 million this morning.

He's not practicing with the team today -- his first one should be tomorrow in Mankato -- but he'll meet with the media this evening.

Until he speaks then...I got agent Jarinn Akana on the phone just before he left town this afternoon after helping finalizing the contract.

Barea was born and raised in Puerto Rico, played for years in Dallas, so he's probably not here for the weather, huh?

"Millions of reasons why he's in Minnesota," Akana said. "He looked at the situation: He likes the team. He likes the coaching staff, Rick Adelman is a proven coach. He wants to play for him. It's a good opportunity. JJ won an NBA championship. He definitely brings championship experience with him."

Akana also represents Ricky Rubio for Dan Fegan's agency.

So how's that going to work with three point guard-sized guards -- Barea, Rubio and Luke Ridnour -- on the same team.

"J.J. plays off the ball, too," Akana said. "In Dallas, he played both spots. I think Minnesota was looking at his ability to do that here. I think they basically are looking for him to have some leadership, to play both positions. J.J. is a heckuva backup and one you can depend on, especially with helping Ricky adjust to his new world."

I asked Akana if he thought having another Spanish-speaking player in the locker room influenced the Wolves decision to sign Barea.

"Listen, Ricky Rubio is Ricky Rubio and both players are independent of each other," he said. "They're both very good players. It's just helping Ricky's overall transition and the fact that J.J. speaks Spanish has got to help.

"J.J. is very happy and excited -- and he'll say that at the press conference -- to be in Minnesota with the commitment the Timberwolves have made to him and he'll do all he can to help Minnesota be the type of team they need to be. His championship experience is definitely going to help them."

For anyone who thinks Barea is coming expecting to battle Rubio for the starting point-guard spot...I asked if Barea accepted the offer knowing he was going to be a backup who can play both guard spots.

"Definitely," Akana said.

 

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