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Trade or Buyout: Barea's Future Hangs In The Balance

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The Timberwolves officially signed Glenn Robinson III yesterday afternoon. As a result, the team now has 16 players under contract for this upcoming season and someone must go. J.J. Barea is the most likely candidate.

Andy Lyons

As Key wrote yesterday, the Timberwolves officially signed rookie Glenn Robinson III.

Here's a blurb from Adrian Wojnarowski, who shockingly (not shockingly) broke the news:

The process of getting a deal done with Robinson, a former University of Michigan forward, became a circuitous process because of the Timberwolves' roster upheaval this summer.

Robinson flew to Minneapolis to sign an agreement on Monday and planned to begin preparations with the T'wolves for the start of training camp later this month, sources said.

Robinson had been believed to have first-round NBA draft talent, but dropped to Minnesota at No. 40. The T'wolves could go to training camp with 16 contracts that include guarantees for the 2014-15 season, and could still have roster moves left to make.

According to Darren Wolfson, the contract is only partially guaranteed for 1-year.

What does this mean?

GRIII must prove his worth over the next year to stick with the Wolves, which won't be easy given the wing depth as I discussed here. It's not clear how the team intends to evaluate him yet, but sending him to the D-League seems like the safest bet. If he shows enough, the Wolves shouldn't have a hard time retaining him next July when he becomes a restricted free-agent. Additionally, the situation on the wing will be more clear at that time.

Signing Robinson III also assures another roster move by Flip Saunders. The team currently has 16 players under contract, and someone must go. J.J. Barea remains the most likely candidate, though the Wolves may have to buy him out and that's certainly not a common move by owner Glen Taylor. From everything I can gather, the team still hopes to find a trade partner for Barea but the market hasn't been there for his services.

One would imagine that Saunders and company had a plan in place to create a roster spot for GRIII before signing him. Though, as of this morning, it's unclear what exactly that plan is. At this point, it seems like Saunders has shopped Barea around the league quite heavily and has yet to find a suitor. Perhaps there's a team that will come out of the woodwork, or maybe the Wolves have a bigger 2-for-1 trade up their sleeves that will include a wing like Budinger, in addition to Barea, to acquire a backup power forward.

Right now the only thing that's clear is Barea's future with the team hangs in the balance.

In other news...

LeBron James unveiled his latest shoe yesterday, his 12th since signing with Nike as a rookie out of high school in 2003, according to ESPN. What do you think of the King's new kicks?

Finally, here's a song I've been listening to a lot lately. Normally this isn't the type of music I enjoy, but this track is as fresh as an outlet pass from Love to Brewer LeBron.