What does David Kahn do when he can’t draft a point guard? He goes out and signs the best one available in free agency. That’s right, after looking for more than a one- or two-year deal on the open market – something Dallas and New York weren’t going to give him – it appears J.J. Barea is headed to Minnesota after agreeing to a four-year, $19 million deal.
Barea, who starred in the postseason last spring during the Dallas Mavericks’ run to the NBA title, took more in Minnesota than in New York, which had been talking about a two-year deal, according to the source. But after using the amnesty provision on Saturday to waive guard Chauncey Billups and dealing forward Ronny Turiaf to Washington as part of the three-team deal that sent Tyson Chandler to New York, the Knicks technically fell under the cap, and thus lost their ability to use the mid-level exception starting at $5 million. They only had the new “room” exception for teams that are below the tax threshold that starts at $2.5 million to offer.
Personally, this seems like it would have been a great move had Ricky Rubio not decided to play in Minnesota this season, but it also could be telling of the situation at hand. Rubio came in for some workouts right before the lockout, and has been with the team for a couple days since the lockout has ended. Maybe they’re not ready to hand over the keys just yet, and the Spanish-speaking Barea can help mentor the 21-year-old as he finds his rhythm in the NBA.
What do you think? Good deal for Minnesota? Good deal for Barea?
Follow Aron on Twitter at @the_real_aron.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.