Report: Timberwolves nearing buyout with J.J. Barea, who hopes to return to Dallas

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J.J. Barea has apparently played his last game in Minnesota. His future with the team has been up in the air for some time, and now ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that they’re nearing a buyout agreement.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are in the process of finalizing a buyout for veteran guard J.J. Barea that should enable Barea to become a free agent early next week, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com that Barea will be waived by the Wolves before Monday’s 5 p.m. deadline for teams to cut rosters down to 15 players and possibly as early as Sunday.

Stein adds that Barea is expected to sign with the Dallas Mavericks once he clears waivers.

Sources say that the Dallas Mavericks, meanwhile, are planning to re-sign Barea next week once he clears waivers. Barea is expected to clear because his salary-cap number for the coming season is $4.5 million.

Barea was an important part of the Mavericks’ 2011 title run, averaging 8.9 points and 3.4 assists per game off the bench during the playoffs. The Mavericks let Barea go in free agency that offseason when the Timberwolves signed him to a four-year, $18 million contract.

Barea won’t be the first player from the 2011 Mavs to rejoin the team this offseason. Dallas traded for Tyson Chandler, the starting center on that title team, in June. Those two and Dirk Nowitzki are the only players from that team left on the roster after Shawn Marion left in free agency this summer.

The Mavericks would have to waive a player to make room for Barea on their roster. The two likeliest candidates are guard Gal Mekel and big man Greg Smith.