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Wojnarowski: Barnes to sign with Lakers unless Cleveland ups offer

Jul 22, 2010, 3:58 PM EDT

Mbarnes.jpg

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Matt Barnes will sign a one-year deal with the Lakers unless Cleveland raises its multi-year offer to Barnes, which starts at $3.5 million a year. 
If Barnes does choose to take less money and sign with the Lakers, it would be a great discount pickup for the defending champions. 
Barnes is known as a three-and-D guy, but reputation as a defensive stopper is a bit overstated; Barnes hustles on defense, and did manage to get under Kobe’s skin that one game, but he’s never really been an upper-echelon perimeter defender. Barnes also isn’t a lights-out three-point shooter; he only shot 32% from beyond the arc last season, and is a 33% three-point shooter for his career. 
What Barnes does bring is versatility. He’s a solid defender who can defend multiple positions, he can shoot the three or put the ball on the floor, he’s a good rebounder for his frame, he knows his limitations as well as he knows his strengths, he’s comfortable in the full-court game, and he plays the game with savvy and toughness. 
For the Lakers, Barnes’ versatility would make him a perfect fit. He wouldn’t take possessions away from the Lakers’ superstars, he could lighten the load on both Ron Artest and Kobe Bryant, he’d be a good fit in the triangle, and he would give the Lakers the freedom to let Shannon Brown leave in free agency. 
For the Cavaliers, Barnes represents something different. Barnes fills two needs for the Cavaliers: he’s a small forward, and he has experience playing uptempo basketball. Byron Scott is trying to turn the Cavaliers into a running team, and Barnes’ versatility made him a valuable cog for both the Warriors and the Suns. 
Signing Barnes for real money could also be Dan Gilbert’s way of telling the league that he plans on fielding competitive teams instead of going into full rebuilding mode and waiting to win the lottery again. If the Cavaliers get Barnes, add a quality playmaker, and everything goes right for them, they could sneak into the playoffs with 40-45 wins next season. 
Barnes is what he is: a 30-year old role player who can play multiple positions and adapt his game to any system. The Lakers want to pay Barnes role player money and use him as a role player. If Barnes agrees, it will be another great signing for the defending champs. 
On the Cleveland side of things, $3.5 million over multiple years is about the upper limit of what Barnes is worth, especially since Barnes won’t turn Cleveland into a contender. Cleveland wants to show everyone that they’re serious about competing next season, but overpaying Barnes won’t make him into a player he’s not. 
  1. hnirobert - Jul 22, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    Good move by Lakers if they get him.

  2. jblakers42 - Jul 22, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    awww yeah, improve that bench and w/the starting 5 we have, a 3 peat is a real possibility…..
    all we need is more consistent play w/our bench, we just need one more player after we sign Matt Barnes and it’s a wrap

  3. jblakers42 - Jul 22, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    awww yeah, all we need to do is balance our bench so they can play more consistently, give our starters more rest…
    we just need one more player to solidify our bench and we’ll be ready to defend our back to back titles and achieve another 3peat…
    GO LAKERS

  4. Aleksandar - Jul 22, 2010 at 7:01 PM

    I want Boston to get him or Josh Howard :) But then anyway, i am a celtics fan. He could be a valuable piece to any contender, but boston and lakers are best fits, since he can play both sg and sf, so he can back up their key players. He will see playing time for sure in those teams. But then again, that way he must accept a little cash, which for a player who doesn’t make much from advertising and is 30 years old, is not always a good option.

  5. DamnRight - Jul 22, 2010 at 7:03 PM

    I say the Lakers should go for it… Matt Barnes should join the defending champs where he is guaranteed to win a ring. He’s not the best defender but he sure looks like he can get under your skin. This would improve our bench big time. Lakers just seem to keep getting better. ;)

  6. pjpj - Jul 22, 2010 at 8:44 PM

    couldnt hurt

  7. pjpj - Jul 22, 2010 at 8:46 PM

    couldnt hurt

  8. Scott R-S - Jul 22, 2010 at 9:27 PM

    If this actually happens, it’d be a good signing. With Barns, LO, Stevie coming off the bench with Brown (Hopefully he signs soon) and whoever they get for a back-up Center, the Lake Show will definitely improve their chances at a 3-peat! All we have to do now if get Kurt Thomas or Theo Ratlif…

  9. Capya - Jul 22, 2010 at 11:37 PM

    From the LA Times: “The Lakers took another step toward rounding out their bench, agreeing to terms with 37-year-old center Theo Ratliff on Thursday.
    Ratliff, who signed a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum of $1.35 million, gives the Lakers an experienced defensive presence among their reserves.”
    Still leaves LA with the 1.77 mil for Barnes if he wants to take a paycut for a ring.

  10. Capya - Jul 22, 2010 at 11:41 PM

    And it’s done!!!
    From the LA Times: “Free-agent forward Matt Barnes decided to sign a two-year deal with the Lakers, choosing the chance at a championship over a more lucrative offer from Cleveland on the same day Theo Ratliff agreed to a one-year, $1.35-million contract with the Lakers, adding a veteran shot-blocking center to the second unit.”

  11. Luis Sanchez - Jul 23, 2010 at 7:17 AM

    The Lakers need Shannon Brown to help defend the young quick point guards … Matt Barnes won’t get any playing time over the Laker All-Stars (current / former) and former Defensive Player of the Year

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