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Lakers sign Matt Barnes. While you were watching Miami, the champs got better.

Jul 23, 2010, 12:33 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for Barnes_ref.jpgThe Lakers are two time defending NBA champions. And when they tip off next season, they will have improved. Chew on that for a second, Miami.

The Lakers got better at the wing by signing Matt Barnes on Thursday night. The Lakers could offer only $1.7 million this year, next year it would be $1.9 million but Barnes will have an opt out.

Barnes turned down more money, a reported $3.5 million a year for three years from Cleveland. He certainly would have gotten more playing time. But if Barnes was not going to play for a contender, he wanted even more money.

Barnes is coming home — he went to UCLA in college, where he may have been a better wide receiver than a basketball player. Maybe not, but it was pretty close.

The Lakers will now bring Barnes off the bench on the wing, spelling Ron Artest and Kobe Bryant, giving the Lakers some toughness and defense off the bench. Barnes is not a good a defender as his reputation, he shot only 32 percent from three last season. But he plays within himself, can attack the rim, get out and run and makes good decisions.

He also fits with the Lakers theme of versatility. They like guys who can play multiple positions, allowing them to create a host of matchup problems. Barnes can play the two or the three. He is long and athletic.

If the Lakers had a weakness last season, it was that their bench was Lamar Odom and a prayer. Now Steve Blake will come in and be a step up at the one from Fisher, and Barnes can come in at the wing, while Odom will be the four. Basically, the Lakers are eight deep with really good players, plus they have Luke Walton and Sasha Vujacic.

The Lakers are better. That is scary for the league.

148 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Ed - Jul 23, 2010 at 12:48 PM

    Only way you can slow down Dwade or Lebron is a double or triple team and last I checked you can only play five guys at a time. Don’t worry it’ll be like that Bull run in the 90’s where it just doesn’t seem fair but eventually you’ll come around. Miami’s now has the best weather,beaches, nightlife,hottest chics,AND THE BEST BASKETBALL TEAM IN THE WORLD FOR THE NEXT DECADE!!! SUCK ON THAT KURT HELIN!

  2. David - Jul 23, 2010 at 12:50 PM

    Poor Gary, at least you will have another season in which to hate the Lakers. :)

  3. Gary0123 - Jul 23, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    You live in San Antonio, yet you root for the Lakers? Where’s the hometown loyalty? In Portland, if we see someone wearing a Lakers jersey, they get a whole lot of crap handed to them. Nothing serious, but really dude, get off your bandwagon and show some local hometown support.

  4. Vito - Jul 23, 2010 at 1:01 PM

    Most of the comments that I have read are silly fan based junk. The Lakers are the champs—PERIOD. No, if this, or if that had happened, what happened was the best team won. The Heat are title contenders whether anyone likes it or not, and the comment about Bill Russell was really silly. He won against Wilt Chamberlain, all 7′ 1″ of him. Enjoy the NBA, and stop being such “homers”.

  5. Anonymous - Jul 23, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    …and Miami obviously the best drugs too, because you seem to be under the influence.

  6. MRT - Jul 23, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Robert Horry has seven………try looking at the games and not just reading about KOBE he did what was asked of him and more during that 3PEAT he ave 27-30 in all of those series and atleast 5reb and 5 asst a steal or 2 and not to mention shutting down the best player on the other squads.

  7. Gary0123 - Jul 23, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    Like I said…dynasties are boring to watch.
    Well, at least NFL football has been more exciting recently. Today, you never know who is going to win in a football season.
    Wake me up when Kobe retires.

  8. Zeke44 - Jul 23, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    If I recall, the Lakers won in spite of it. So, your point is what? The Lakers are so good that they can win, even when Kobe is not 100%, that improving the bench HURTS them? Huh?

  9. Zeke44 - Jul 23, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    If I recall, the Lakers won in spite of it. So, your point is what? The Lakers are so good that they can win, even when Kobe is not 100%, and that improving the bench HURTS them? Huh?

  10. Nadeem - Jul 23, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    As one of the dev leauge fans (Raptors), i grew up as a Lakers fan (my Kareem was a better center than Russel alsways got a good discussion going, i then hated the Lakers as a saw Kobe as a bit of a brat.
    In the last three years i am back on the bandwagon. Kobe has proven that he is the best of his generation and time will tell in ragards to history.
    The Lakers as a franchise are the best in the modern era (post ABA-NBA merger, and are debateable as to if they are the best fanchise in history. 50’s belonged to Lakers / Celtics, 60’s Celtics, 80’s belonged to Lakers / Celtics. 90’s Bulls. This decade belonged to the Lakers – no contest.
    As we enter a new decade who will rule? Right now LBJ is not the man and has no rings. A long way to go. He will never be the man given the team he joined. For now all roads to greatness go through Kobe and the Lakers.

  11. RonnieYoung - Jul 23, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    True Dat

  12. Pa Pa - Jul 23, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    Luke Walton….Ha ha ha!….funny joke

  13. Dr. Jay - Jul 23, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    Apparently you keep reading – do you suffer from some form of literary masochism?

  14. jblakers42 - Jul 23, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    omg……..we gone be a BEEEAAAASSTT next year
    we just signed MATT BARNES from ORLANDO and 15 year vet THEO RATLIFF to back up BYNUM at center
    RATLIFF rebounds and block shots
    our defense will be downright scary from all over the court….
    the paint, the wing, the perimeter, ARTEST, BARNES, BYNUM, GASOL, ODOM, RATLIFF, and KOBE lockin down on D….
    this offseason was about improving our bench and we have definitely met that match and then some…..
    now when the starters leave the game, our bench can sustain or even build on leads………
    and BYNUM, I think he’s going to emerge on defense and become that force in the paint that will shut down all penatration through the lane
    so MIAMI, D-WADE, LEBRON, BOSH, get some of this heat we are about to unleash on you (no pun intended)
    KOBE will get ring #6, tying him w/alpha and omega (JORDAN)
    and I’m gonna be at that parade representing as a lifelong laker fan since JAMES WORTHY was drafted back in 1983
    all that lost to BOSTON during the 2008 nba finals did was fuel the next dynasty…that’s why I wasn’t really disappointed w/that lost, plust BOSTON was built to win it that year and we didn’t have BYNUM or ARIZA able to play…..

  15. Brutus McCrunch - Jul 23, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    You’re a gutless,brainless sore loser.
    The Celtics got ganked in game 3 and 6 with Perkins in the lineup.
    We didnt have a real Bynum the entire playoffs you waste of oxygen.You mom should have aborted you.

  16. MRT - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    Oh, sound like U R a heat fan trying to convince them and yourself, that they can do it. Well my advice to 2 and the heat is work on winning the east and hope ur not the cats that have to take this BUTT KICKING LAKER NATION is handing out to whoever shows up. Also I think I would have held out or got Lebron and tried to trade for Carmelo or just waited for Carmelo. Melo is the better player.

  17. Alex - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    Well Said. They need to get rid of Walton and Sasha but they definitely got much better with these moves.

  18. SPURS GERMANY - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    MJ PIPPEN ROD KERR any damn coach even you could have taken these guys to a conference finals
    kobe pau bynum odom ;even i could have coached them to another ring.
    lets see bynum pau kobe artest blake against td splitter blair manu tp in conference finals next year.

  19. ADP - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    The Lakers are so good that they won 5 championships in 10 years BITCH. How many championships did did your celtics get in the last 20 years? ONE, SHUT YOUR EFFEN PIEHOLE AND BEND OVER AGAIN BYOOOTCH

  20. Henry - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:22 PM

    You sound really ignorant with your stereotypes. Is Angelina Jolie a gang member or anyone who’s not Black? You need to take your racist attitudes to another planet, because that type of talk here on this one is getting really old. Tattoos have been around and worn mainly by people outside the “ghetto” for years, so get your facts straight. As a matter of fact, why don’t you go and associate yourself with those who you have more in common with, because it is not the majority of basketball fans?

  21. Anonymous - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    if perkins doesnt get hurt my money was on the celtics to win game seven. all the celtics needed was perkins to play that seventh game and its east coast baby. but the heat will demand some respect we’ll just have to play the games and wait. see you then, now lets put a cap on the oil leak and make bp payyyyyyyyyy.

  22. Jay - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    Its crazy that the Lakers won the championship and there are the only team in the West making adjustments to improve their team and why do people think they are doing that? Why do people think Byrum is delaying his knee surgery? Why did Miami sign 4 centers and three point shooters? Miami knows to be the champs they are going to have to go thru LA and LA knows to be the 3 time champs they are going to have to beat Miami. I like Boston but they are not going to do what they did last year. Without Rasheed, with Perkins hurt for maybe the whole season, with Rondo on scouting reports radar, with the Bulls being revampant and with them being just one more year older they wont be representing the East this year.

  23. i see dead people - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    i also see alot of scared laker fans
    go heat!

  24. lakessssshow - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    and hand grenades!!!

  25. ctown - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    cleveland going to kick the crap out of every body !

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