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Timberwolves Finalizing Buyout of J.J. Barea

Reports indicate that the Wolves are finalizing a buyout of J.J. Barea, meaning the roster will be set at 15.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

According to several sources, the Wolves are finalizing a buyout of guard J.J. Barea, who is guaranteed $4.5 million this season.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Minnesota Timberwolves are today finalizing a buyout with veteran guard JJ Barea, say ESPN sources</p>&mdash; Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) <a href="">October 26, 2014</a></blockquote>

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This has been confirmed by both Jerry Zgoda and Darren Wolfson, with Zgoda chiming in that:

What it likely came down to is this: Flip Saunders wanted Barea on the team and envisioned a role for him, but it wasn't one in which he could guarantee Barea playing time every game.

Barea told me Friday he saw a role for him here but said he wants to play every game.

Inevitably, the two sides probably decided that neither be happy with the role Flip envisioned, hence the decision to pay off probably most of Barea's $4.5 million due this season.

This was the assumption once the Wolves signed Mo Williams and added Glenn Robinson III to a partially guaranteed contract, giving them 16 players who were owed money this season. However, it does leave the Wolves somewhat thin at the point guard spot, with only Ricky Rubio and combo guard Mo Williams appearing able to play the position right now. Zach LaVine is the default third point guard, but showed amply this preseason that he is not ready.

Barea was signed for four years in the summer of 2011, following his big role in the Mavericks championship run. David Kahn was looking for someone with winning pedigree who could score from the perimeter, and made the biggest offer for Barea in free agency.

He's been very up and down as a Timberwolf, not only season to season (he struggled mightily last year, with career low shooting percentages while playing heavy minutes, particularly in 4th quarters in place of Ricky Rubio, much to the chagrin of fans.

The signing of Mo Williams put the writing on the wall, as it became clear that there wasn't consistent playing time available for Barea, not someone you probably want getting DNP-CDs.  However, he played well this preaseason and in training camp by all accounts, and recent thought has been that the Wolves were more likely to waive GRIII or Robbie Hummel if they couldn't make a trade by tomorrow's roster deadline.

But in the end, the Wolves decided to keep their younger players and jettison Barea, who has been the focus of much fan ire.

It sounds as if he may return to Dallas, presumably on a minimum contract since the Wolves will be paying him the bulk of his salary:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>After clearing waivers, JJ Barea is then hoping to re-sign with the Dallas Mavericks, who&#39;ll have to open a roster spot to make room for him</p>&mdash; Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) <a href="">October 26, 2014</a></blockquote>

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J.J. was tough to watch much of the time, but he also helped the Wolves win games with his all or nothing approach. Hopefully it won't come back to haunt the Wolves that they lack depth at the position. Best of luck to J.J. Barea in his next stop. And congratulations to Glenn Robinson III for making the final roster.