Wolves Waive J.J. Barea, Mavs Plan To Sign Him

MONDAY, 1:59pm: The Wolves have waived Barea, the team announced (Twitter link). It’s unclear if he agreed to give up any salary in a buyout arrangement or if it was a straight release.

SUNDAY, 3:55pm: The Wolves are finalizing a buyout with J.J. Barea, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com.  The buyout will be completed before Monday’s 4pm CT roster cutdown deadline, putting Minnesota at the 15-man maximum.

With a logjam of guards in Minnesota, there has been speculation this offseason that the Wolves would buy Barea out of the final year of his contract or trade him.  Coach/president Flip Saunders insisted in late September that there was a role for Barea in Minnesota, noting that his camp performance last summer was the best of anyone on the team.  Still, with a glut of backcourt options, including free agent pickup Mo Williams, it was clear that Barea could get more burn elsewhere.

The Mavericks are planning on signing Barea once he clears waivers, according to Stein, and the guard wants to return to Dallas.  The Mavs’ roster is currently full with the regular season maximum 15 players, so bringing Barea aboard would require another roster move.  The guard should clear as he carries a $4.5MM cap number for 2014/15.  Stein suggests that Dallas could clear a spot by trading or releasing guard Gal Mekel or big man Greg Smith.

If the Barea-Dallas reunion falls through, there should be plenty of other clubs with interest.  The Lakers immediately come to mind as a club that could go for Barea in the wake of Steve Nash‘s season-ending injury.

Earlier today, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link) heard that the feeling around the league was that Barea would wind up with the Mavs.  Barea could be the second member of the Mavs’ 2011 championship team to return to Dallas this offseason, following big man Tyson Chandler.

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