NBA Free Agents 2011: Mavericks' J.J. Barea To Join Minnesota Timberwolves

Lindsey YoungCorrespondent IIDecember 14, 2011

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  Jose Juan Barea #11 of the Dallas Mavericks brings the ball up court against the Miami Heat in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. The Mavericks won 105-95. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

According to an ESPN's Marc Stein, free agent J.J. Barea has reached an "agreement in principle" with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The contract allegedly totals $19 million over a four-year deal. Surprisingly, only one season after winning the 2011 NBA Championship, Dallas has opted not to maintain Barea as part of its roster.

However, I couldn't be more excited to welcome the Puerto Rico native to the Twin Cities. The point guard may stand at barely 6' and 175 pounds, but his quickness and tenacity in the 2011 Finals made a [temporary] Mavericks fan out of me.

Barea floated below the radar throughout most of the playoffs—but he exploded when it mattered. He found ways to score, whether using his small stature to elude defenders beneath the basket or hitting threes from behind the arc.

Although Minnesota's owner Glen Taylor holds a reputation for being overly frugal, he seems serious about producing a contending team this year. According to Stein, Minnesota beat out the New York Knicks with its bid for Barea.

Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle commented:

"I'm happy that he's able to experience that kind of a payday [...]. What he did here the last three years has earned him that. He'll be a terrific player for the Timberwolves."

The 27-year-old joins the youngest squad in the NBA, but many are intrigued by the potential chemistry on this season's roster. With the addition of Derrick Williams, Ricky Rubio, new head coach Rick Adelman and now Barea, this year's 66-game run could be an entirely different story for the Midwest ball club.

Fans aren't the only ones showing excitement. Barea tweeted yesterday, "En el airport. On my way to Minnesota. Can't wait to get things going."

We can't wait, either, J.J.

The Timberwolves' season kicks off on Monday, Dec. 26 against Oklahoma City. Tip is set for 7 p.m. at the Target Center.


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