Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 12/14/11
MINNEAPOLIS The Minnesota Timberwolves already had one Spanish-speaking guard on the roster, and on Wednesday they added another by signing free agent J.J. Barea.Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but USA Today reported Barea's contract is for four years and nearly 20 million."We are excited to add J.J. Barea to our team," said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. "His experience, leadership capabilities and all-around play should help us immensely this coming season and beyond."The 27-year-old Barea spent five seasons with Dallas and was a key reserve as the Mavericks won last year's NBA Championship over the Miami Heat. As a backup to Jason Kidd, Barea averaged 8.9 points and 3.4 assists in 21 playoff games for Dallas during the title run. He scored 9.5 points and dished out 3.9 assists while shooting 43.9 percent from the floor during the 2010-11 regular season."He proved what he can do with Dallas last year," new Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman said Wednesday. "He can make plays. He's an aggressive player on both ends of the court. Hopefully, that's going to rub off on the rest of our guys."Barea, a native of Puerto Rico, will team up alongside point guard Ricky Rubio, who joins the Timberwolves this season after the drafted him fifth overall in 2009. But Rubio spent two years playing in his native Spain after he was drafted before finally coming to Minnesota this offseason. Having a veteran guard in Barea should help show the rookie Rubio the ropes and it could help bridge the language barrier between Rubio and his non-Spanish speaking teammates."It's going to help because it's a lot important to speak well with the teammates. My English not so good," Rubio said. "I'm sure it's going to help me have a guy like him speak Spanish."Adelman, meanwhile, doesn't want the shared language with Barea to be the biggest advantage for Rubio."I'm trying to deny them speaking anything but English. I want to know what they're saying," Adelman said. "I had to do that with Vlade (Divac) and Peja (Stojakovic in Sacramento)."The Wolves now have several options at point guard with the addition of Barea. Rubio figures to get plenty of minutes at the point, but Minnesota also has veteran Luke Ridnour and rookie Malcolm Lee, who can play the point or shooting guard.With so many guards, will there be room for Barea to play off the ball?"I'm going to have to do that. I've done it before every place I've been," Adelman said. "I played Mike Bibby and Bobby Jackson together (in Sacramento). In Houston, I played Aaron Brooks and Kyle Lowry together. We're going to do it. The way we're handling the ball, I need ball handlers on the floor, guys who can make plays. So we're going to try."One of Barea's new teammates, second-year guardforward Wesley Johnson, is excited to have Barea on the team. It means Johnson won't have to guard him anymore, which he had to do several times against Dallas last year."It's one less guard we have to worry about running around chasing," Johnson said. "It's going to help us out a lot with him getting into the paint, finding guys. His quickness I think is going to be tremendous."
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