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Updated: December 12th, 2011 9:44am
Reports: Wolves close to four-year deal with point guard J.J. Barea

Reports: Wolves close to four-year deal with point guard J.J. Barea

by Phil Mackey
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The Minnesota Timberwolves are on the verge of adding what could be a key sparkplug.

According to multiple reports, free agent J.J. Barea is close to signing a four-year, $19 million deal to become Ricky Rubio's backup point guard. Barea gained notoriety with the Dallas Mavericks in last year's postseason by scoring 22 points in a sweep-clinching win over the Lakers in the Western Conference quarterfinals.

Barea, 27, spent five years with the Mavericks, averaging 7.1 points and 2.9 assists while shooting 35% from three-point range. He upped those numbers last season, scoring 9.5 points while dishing 3.9 assists.

A native of Puerto Rico, Barea began playing professionally in the Bolancesto Superior Nacional league at age 17 before heading to Northeastern for a four-year college career. Barea is also a member of the Puerto Rican men's national team.

The signing of Barea would complicate things for point guard Luke Ridnour, who is owed $12 million through the 2013-2014 season.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Luke Ridnour, Ricky Rubio