Happy in Big D
The Wolves head to Dallas on Wednesday for their second game against the Mavericks in 10 days. That’s where former Wolves guard J.J. Barea is playing a prominent bench role after he negotiated a contract buyout before last season and signed with a Mavs team with which he won an NBA title in 2011.
“Any time you’re in a place for five years and you win a championship and make so many friends, it was an easy transition,” said Barea, who remains in touch with former teammate Ricky Rubio and head athletic trainer Gregg Farnam. “I’m just happy everything worked out the way I wanted it to.”
Wednesday’s game in Houston was the first time former Rockets forward Corey Brewer faced his former Wolves team without its coach and basketball boss Flip Saunders, who died in October at age 60.
Saunders signed Brewer as a free agent in July 2014. Five months later, he traded Brewer to playoff-bound Houston, which later re-signed Brewer to a three-year, $24 million contract.
“I really liked Flip, he was the reason I came back to Minnesota the second time,” Brewer said. “It happened so quickly. I was sad for his family. I was sad for the Wolves organization because Flip was such a big part of Minnesota, period. He did right by me for sure.”
Golden State executive Jerry West before Kobe Bryant played his final game for the Lakers in Oakland on Thursday: “This has been a remarkable player, a player for the decades, simply one of the greatest players that ever played the game. And I’m talking about a handful of guys who ever played the game.”