For the Timberwolves, trading Kevin Love was about both gaining positive assets and shedding negative ones.
Minnesota definitely added positive assets (Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Thaddeus Young), and the Timberwolves still dropped negative ones (Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved).
But Mbah a Moute and Shved weren’t the only veterans Minnesota wanted to dump on the 76ers. The Timberwolves tried – and failed – to unload J.J. Barea.
They’ll try to trade him — they tried to get Sixers to take him with no luck — but if that doesn’t happen, they’ll buy him out, I’d think
Philadelphia could have also taken Barea in the trade either in addition to Mbah a Moute and Shved or in place of one of those players. But it’s a credit to the negotiating ability of Sam Hinkie over Flip Saunders that it didn’t happen that way.
Barea is the least valuable of the trio. Though all three players have expiring contracts, Barea is the oldest and highest-paid. None of the three can be counted on to contribute much on the court.
Mbah a Moute, a mentor of Joel Embiid and fellow Cameroonian, hold particular value to Philadelphia for his ability to help the No. 3 pick. There’s always a chance Shved, 25, reverses his backward career trajectory after a promising rookie year led to a worse second season.
But the best days of Barea, 30, seem behind him.
Still, I’d be a little surprised if the Timberwolves waive him – unless he gives them a deal on his buyout. Minnesota has 15 guaranteed contracts, so the roster limit isn’t a huge concern. Barea’s $4,519,500 expiring contract could facilitate a mid-season trade, but that option is off the table if he’s cut.
The Timberwolves clearly don’t see a use for Barea, but his contract could still be useful in another trade. Waiving him is always an option past the trade deadline.