Northwest Notes: Barea, Wolves, Shaw, Leonard

J.J. Barea confirmed to Kent Youngblood of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he gave up some guaranteed money to get out of his contract with the Timberwolves. Barea said he was paid a portion of the $4.5MM the Wolves owed him, and then signed with the Mavericks for the veterans minimum. “I think we finished on good terms,” he said. “We communicated pretty good. They wanted to go another direction. We talked about it and came up with the decision and went from there.” Barea played five seasons in Dallas before signing a free agent deal with Minnesota in 2011.

More from the Northwest Division:

  • As the Wolves adjust to life without Kevin Love, their former general manager can empathize, reports Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Kevin McHale said the circumstances that led to Love being dealt to Cleveland were very similar seven years ago when he was forced to trade Kevin Garnett“It’s the lesser of two evils,” said McHale, now the coach of the Rockets. “Like, are we going to let a guy walk for nothing, or are we going to try to get the greatest amount of assets we can and see if we can build from here? But, yeah, I felt bad for [Minnesota head coach and president of basketball operations] Flip [Saunders], because it’s just a tough position to be in.”
  • Woody Paige of The Denver Post opines that the Nuggets need to cut ties with coach Brian Shaw as a way to save their season. Paige called this year’s version of the Nuggets “the least entertaining, exciting and enthralling” in more than a decade, and said Shaw made a huge mistake by implementing a slowdown approach that wastes Denver’s natural advantage over visiting teams because of the city’s altitude.
  • The Trail Blazers‘ Meyers Leonard believes he was miscast during his first two NBA seasons, writes Jason Quick of The Oregonian. The 7-footer has cracked Portland’s rotation as a stretch four after struggling to contribute as a center. He grabbed 12 rebounds Saturday while filling in as a starter for an ailing LaMarcus Aldridge in a win over the Nets. “Once coach started to see me shoot more threes after practice, and shoot them during camps, and in games and summer run … that’s when coach realized ‘He can really help us,”’ Leonard said.

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