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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. kevin - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    ur an idiot

  2. JD - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    All I read here are a bunch of rabid Heat fans. Settle down, the season hasn’t even started yet and you’re all talking smack already. Bottom line is, your team hasn’t won anything so until they do, shut the hell up.

  3. LakersWillBringTheHeat. - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    lakers are 1 move away from a guarantee ring! with the signing of free agent tracy mcgrady! BRING T-MAC TO LA!!!
    the lakers 2nd unit will be great.
    blake
    ratliff
    odom
    barnes
    tmac.
    can i get a 3peat??

  4. Showtime - Jul 23, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    Listen first and foremorst I am tired of hearing people clown Derrick Fischer as if he is a nobody. Fischer has been Key in every one of the five Championships he has played. Don’t get it twisted I am not saying he is the best guard ever but give the man credit, Blake is decent and a nice addition to the bench but nonetheless he is coming to back up Little Rock he don’t have the experince, he is not clutch like Fish and not a leader like .4 seconds. Please quit dismissing the importance of D-Fish in the lineup. I have been a Laker fan all my life and Matt Barnes is a nice pick-up but far from the answer we were looking for. T-Mac, or Nate would have been Better. Am sorry to disappoint but the lakers need solid scoring off the bench and we are seriously lacking in that department. Our starters can build leads all they want but we have to be able to sustain it and we have been streaking in that department to say the least. Defense is nice but thats why they call it chipping away at the lead meaning little at a time. You can stop the opposing team a couple times down the court but if they manage to score even a few buckets and we can’t match it then guess what they have chipped in to the lead and that is damaging on many points. Moment shifting, less rest time for the starters who then have to come in and tire out quickly. For those that argue about T-Mac am sorry but he would have been just what we needed. You can say he fell off but put him with a team that is contenders and give him run of the Bench he is going to be explosive and contribute 17 to 20 points nearly every game and therefore give our starters the rest they need. As for Theo I mean cmon might as well kept Mbenga or Powell whats the difference. Am praying for a healthy Andrew Bynum if not this guy is not the backup we needed. Again don’t get me twisted but Lakers could hve done better we are the team to beat and am still confident we can three peat but we got moderately better when we could have improved our bench so much more. The heat and other teams have drastically improved and that is a reality we did subtle small changes and slightly improved. Kobe, Pau, Fish, Artist, Bynum are going to have to put in much work to secure that 3 peat and hope that bench can come through. I don’t know about you guy but just once I do not want to have to sweat when the bench comes in would have been great to see some players coming off that bench that everyone one knows what they are capable of. Still on that Lamar Odom Prayer with hope the others we signed were worth passing up T-Mac, Ai, and Nate guys you know by first name, when you reach one name status you have made a mark can we say Matt and everyone know who we talking about. Lets go La. hope you guys in that office know what you doing because as always we fans will be sweating come bench time.
    P.S for the one who said the NBA is looking like gangstas or whatever get a life stereotyping was out in the 60’s these guy make more than you can dream so they doing the right things with their life. Get a clue.

  5. Irrational Exuberance - Jul 23, 2010 at 3:03 PM

    Lakers fans ARE scared. There is real fear they may run out of places to put Championchip Banners.

  6. kenyya - Jul 23, 2010 at 3:17 PM

    and the operative word you used was almost lost…..in realtime, the aging celtics blew a double digit lead late in the game and the champs intensified the pressure and the celts choked…big time……get over your laker hatred….you’ll be a better person for it….lakers forever!

  7. kenyya - Jul 23, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    and the operative word you used was almost lost…..in realtime, the aging celtics blew a double digit lead late in the game and the champs intensified the pressure and the celts choked…big time……get over your laker hatred….you’ll be a better person for it….lakers forever!

  8. LakersWillBringTheHeat. - Jul 23, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    lakers have nothing to be scared of . it will be the lakers reping the west in this years finals , i just hope lebron dwade and bosh share the ball enough to make it to the finals.
    i would love to see lakers vs. heat this year.
    and of course lebron bosh dwade still dont have enough force to stop kobe and the lakers!
    phil jackson wouldnt of come back to the team for another season if he didnt think they can win next year, he came back for a reason. to be the only coach to have two 3 peats in at least a decade.
    hes going down to be the best coach ever.

  9. joe terry jr - Jul 23, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    Matt Barnes is a big time nice player… he is a great defender and absolutely fearless…he locked down many a good playa in his day….great signing for the Lakers and by Mitch Kupchak….Mitch has really and i mean really been doing a great job….a Jerry West type of job….i can’t emphasize this enough….
    one of the main things i would like to see the Lakers do now is to Work With Andrew Bynam….i think Andrew Wants to do well… He is very very passive Type II or III personality actually….somewhat immature actually….what i would like to see is Andrew develope a more aggressive attitude on the court….(he IS a good citizen, good team mate i would like to say, imo)…But what i would like to see is AB getting a bit more intense re: his trade….Get in better shape for the league, toughen up and get ready MENTALLY…. Kareem AJ tried to work with AB. I hear that Jabbar gave up on AB….Lakers need to ‘find’ someone who will ‘coax’ AB to WORK, mentally alert and physically in tip top shape….
    i was amazed to see that AB would play with a bad knee? absolutely amazed…. Let’s get AB his surgery and get him to EARN is huge salary….Kobe and the others imo work, Andrew needs to man up and give it 110% on and off the court….The LA fans and AB’s teammates deserve this
    With AB, the Lakers are unbeatable, imo. The Heat is on, and Lakers have to answer the challenge..
    I have been a Laker fan for 45 years…. I love the team….the team is immortal…lol go Lakers.

  10. Kurt - Jul 23, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    I think Kupchak is a genius! He drafted a little known 17 year old kid named Bynum with te 10th pick, pulled off one of the best steals in the league, since Boston with Bird, with Gasol….with little money pulls in Artest and now Barnes and Ratliff, not to mention his mid and late 2nd round picks that tore up the summer league, Eubanks that everyone says reminds them of Ariza and Caracter who looks like another Dejuan Blair! Last year with a hobbling Bynum and no real bench they won their 2nd World Championship in a row! If Bynum could ever stay healthy in the playoffs, it would be scary. All the Celdicks can say what they want, but they had a healthy Perkins till half way through the 6th game in the series, we had a lame center through the whole playoffs that left the court in game 6. We would probably already be a 3peat but did not have Bynum or Ariza in Boston two years ago…two major starters! Plus you had us by how many with Kobe shooting horrible and still couldn’t pull it off??? Time to shut upand stop being haters!Phil has more rings then Red now, in a much tougher era, we will soon have more championships……quit the wine and except! I even felt bad for Boston for the 20 years they did absolutely nothing in the NBA and rooted for the Sox to finally beat the Yankees! lol

  11. Kurt - Jul 23, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    I think Kupchak is a genius! He drafted a little known 17 year old kid named Bynum with te 10th pick, pulled off one of the best steals in the league, since Boston with Bird, with Gasol….with little money pulls in Artest and now Barnes and Ratliff, not to mention his mid and late 2nd round picks that tore up the summer league, Eubanks that everyone says reminds them of Ariza and Caracter who looks like another Dejuan Blair! Last year with a hobbling Bynum and no real bench they won their 2nd World Championship in a row! If Bynum could ever stay healthy in the playoffs, it would be scary. All the Celdicks can say what they want, but they had a healthy Perkins till half way through the 6th game in the series, we had a lame center through the whole playoffs that left the court in game 6. We would probably already be a 3peat but did not have Bynum or Ariza in Boston two years ago…two major starters! Plus you had us by how many with Kobe shooting horrible and still couldn’t pull it off??? Time to shut upand stop being haters!Phil has more rings then Red now, in a much tougher era, we will soon have more championships……quit the wine and except! I even felt bad for Boston for the 20 years they did absolutely nothing in the NBA and rooted for the Sox to finally beat the Yankees! lol

  12. bballfan - Jul 23, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    wow jeremiah i was reviewing gm 7 and even though lakers looked doomed in the first quarter did you even notice that the lakers outscored the celtics in every other quarter, pretty damned good for trhe lakers to play basically their worst play off statciaclly i think ever and still beat the how you put it aging 3, i am not a lakers fan dont really care who wins or loses its just a game but i do give lakers props for pulling out that gm7 win, barns and blake and ratliff should make for an interesting team next year

  13. dontbotherme - Jul 23, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    lol yeah be afraid of the HEAT gimme a break 3.5 egos is gonna win a championship, im just waiting for lebron to have his first hissyfit when he realizes its WADE’s teamsee you guys at the next free agency when legone jumps to another team becuz the heat couldnt deliver lol

  14. Lamont - Jul 23, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    Kids! You all can be so amusing; Your zeal, wishful thinking, and most of all, your trash talk. I only wish the Heat could garner even more good players to guarantee their advance to the finals.
    I come from the days of Magic Johnson. He taught me a valuable lesson. If you don’t play the best of the best, how would you know how good you really are?
    The Lakers have been in half of all championship finals. They have been successful in half of all they’ve been in.
    When you have that kind of success, you want it to be based upon your ability to beat the very best that the competition has to offer. Here’s the example that taught me that lesson.
    You might be too young to remember the year somewhere between 1985 & ’88. It was right around this time of year, the Lakers had just won the championship, when coach Pat Riley went out and got Mychal Thompson. When asked why , Riley said the Lakers needed someone to offset the skills of Kevin McHale in the coming year’s finals.
    What? Huh? What about the season before the finals? I mean, doesn’t it have anything to do with getting him? No, ’cause Riley knew we already were tooled with a team that would get us to the finals. We knew who we would be facing in the finals. We wanted to enhance our ability to beat Boston. Nothing else mattered. Beating everyone else was OK. Beating Boston? Priceless!
    That concept cannot be perceived by any other team in the league except, perhaps the Celtics. Less than a month after winning the championship, the team makes a deal designed to enhance their performance DURING the next finals? That represents a competitive attitude that very few sports’ franchises can attain.
    You see, being elite is not having a plan for a season, but a plan for a championship season. Don’t get caught up in all the crap the blogs are saying. That’s just wearing your passions on your sleeves. Beating the Lakers is more a dream than reality.
    Look deeper into the game: look at the franchise as a whole; the way it operates. Look at the product we put on the floor.
    Forget all of the hype and look at the organization like you look at a brand name. As an example, when the Lakers got Pau Gasol, the success was immediate, and the front office secured their product for the next 5 to 10 years. That was a front office masterful trade. All the other franchises knew what it could produce, and they were angry, because of it.
    And, all of their fears have come to past.
    Now, teams are retooling. Indeed, the league is retooling; putting together ‘Dream Teams’, just to be able to beat the Lakers. And the knowledgeable Laker fan looks at all of this and says, “Bring ‘em on! Put together the very best you have to offer, and bring ‘em on!”
    That is our mentality. We don’t want the scenario of the Shaq/Kobe teams, where we beat teams that could have been beaten by the third best team in the west, much less the best. We only want to play the best the league has to offer. We fear no team.
    We’ve played in 3 straight championships, we’ve won the last 2, and we have yet to get a full season from our starting center, who strikes fear in the hearts of every other team in the league. Now,if you can win consecutive championships WITHOUT your starting center making a significant contribution, what is there to fear, except fear itself?
    Look at our decision-makers in the front office and at the success of the franchise’s product. Draw your conclusions, not from wishful thinking, because the product is a result of people who made wise decisions and have a track record of success that has placed their product in half of ALL the championships ever played, and subsequently have won half of those. That’s why people hate the Lakers. They have a good and a consistent product.
    When you have a product like that, your confidence and ego suggest that the rest of the league can go all out, and put together a “Superteam” if they want, because we only want to play the best the league has to offer.
    I only hope that the Heat can put together a GREAT team and have a GREAT season, because I don’t want the Lakers to beat on patsies.
    I want every team to be a powerhouse like the Heat is building, or a Celtic team with FOUR count ‘em, FOUR future Hall of Famers, like Magic did in 85, or was it 87, or…., well it doesn’t matter exactly when. What matters is, he took his team to the finals, as planned. Thompson DID offset McHale, as planned, and the difference in the teams came down to one critical shot by Buck (that’s what Magic’s friends called him), on the parquay floor in Boston, that broke the back of the team with 4 hall of famers on the floor, and brought us another trophy (only after Bird missed a wide open jumper, which had us Laker fans holding our hands over our mouths to keep our hearts in our chests).
    This is the kind of success that builds tradition. This is the Lakers legacy. This is why we wish all comers the best of luck getting to the finals. We only hope you are worthy.
    To suggest that the team should be concerned? Please! Whatever you have, bring ‘em on. How glorious victory will be!

  15. Derek - Jul 23, 2010 at 4:38 PM

    Maybe you should start teaching the kids about to judge the behavior of people and not the appearance. We all wear a mask from time to time so he needs to learn how to tell the difference. So you know for sure that your pediatrician, school principal, and yoga teacher – all are tatoo free ?
    It’s amazing how a white shirt and tie covers those tatoos when the teams go and meet the Preident of US

  16. whutevr - Jul 23, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    you tell em albert, one thing no one mentioned about kobe he had major issues goin on and still played awesome, i wonder how lebron or bosh or garnett or pierce would have played with a knee that needed to be drained or issues with his lower back and lets not forget the messed up finger on his shooting hand and thu 98% of the playoffs he still outplayed everyone so if hes gettin old dam id like to be that good and OLD

  17. Lamont - Jul 23, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    Hey, all Laker haters; I ain’t mad atcha. I understand your futility is blinding your ability to think rationally. That’s what happens to a human after years of constant frustration. It’s what makes Psychology a profitable endeavor.
    But, I’m afraid you are speaking from your hearts, and not your heads. You are like the people who have a 500 piece puzzle in front of them, and have yet to put together any 2 pieces. You cannot see the overall picture by looking at the pieces. You can only see the picture the manufacturer gave you to refer to.
    I go back to the days when the Celtics won EVERY YEAR FOR LIKE 7 YEARS. They won like 10 of 11 years. It was really heartbreaking to see them beat my teams in the 7th game, in the last minute of the last quarter. So, I understand your lack of rationale. But, remember this.
    Those Celtic teams were designed to be able to successfully perform in those waning moments. A steal by Havlicek. A block by Russell. A put back by Don Nelson (The unkindest cut of all, said Shakespeare). They only had to be 1 point better and play one second longer and harder.
    The feature which gave them that edge, was defense. They were superb then, and that tradition continues with them to this day.
    The Lakers, in gaining Barnes and Ratliff, have insured the team of players who can perform in the crucial last moments. We had Ariza, 2 years ago. You know how he came through. We had Artest this past season. You know how he came through. God! Did he ever come through. After a season of frustration, he delivered the product we went to the market to get.
    These are examples of an organization whose tradition is that of championships. How can you possibly think that this latest decision is anything else than keeping in line with Laker philosophy?
    Evaluating this team suggests to me, a glorious season ending in another appearance in the finals. I could care less what the competition does to offset our decisions. Even if we were to lose, the decisions were the right ones. Defense, defense, and more defense.
    Both acquistions are known for their defensive prowess. Both will be needed for a fraction of time. Both are versatile.
    As a result, we have two pieces of the puzzle who have displayed a knack for making sound decisions on the floor, and provide a toughness the Lakers sought.
    I am so proud of the Lakers’ front office for not pursuing anyone who might not fit. What a perfect fit these two are. And their reason for being here? They are perfect offsets to Bosh and LeBron. It reminds me of the Mychal Thompson trade during the Magic Johnson/Pat Riley era. In a sentence, they are the last pieces to a puzzle which places are so obvious, you no longer need the picture. Just put them in their places.
    What glory awaits us! Laker nation, REJOICE!

  18. Josh - Jul 23, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    I’m awaiting the letter from Cleveland’s owner, Gilbert, ranting about how Matt Barnes is a traitorous, scum sucking, game throwing, deceitful liar who has personally betrayed him and the entire city of Cleveland by choosing to sign with the Lakers for half as much money.

  19. Rob In Laker Town - Jul 23, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    I am sick to death of all the Celtics fans saying, “If we had Perkins in Game 7, we would have won.”
    Well, what about game 6, you idiots ????? You had a healthy Perkins and the Celtics still got smoked like cheap pork.
    Please, enough with the “Game 7-Perkins” crap; that argument doens’t hold water. What’s your excuse for Game 6 ????
    Do I hear crickets chirping in Beantown?
    And as for LeQuit – he has not won a single thing yet. Calling him a King is the stupidest thing I ever heard. To be a King, you have to have a crown, and LeGone has ZERO crowns.
    There’s only one king in the NBA and his name is King Kobe.

  20. Lamont - Jul 23, 2010 at 5:25 PM

    LAKERS FANS, PLEASE!!!
    Don’t dignify the statements of Lakers haters by responding to them. If you have something to say that is in disagreement or enlightening, just put it out here without attacking the simple-minded. Those poor souls have so little to hope for.
    You don’t have to attack the nay-sayers and devout Lakers haters. Their passionate irrational thinking is the only straw they have to grasp. Give them that. Silent confidence is more powerful than indignation.
    When you see their ridiculous comments, just sit back and smile. Smile the kind of smile you smiled when Ariza came through. The kind of smile when Artest came through. You can do that, because you know this team, and you see what a powerful statement these players will make as Lakers.
    You see the whole picture, cause you’re that close to the team throughout the entire year. These poor Lakers haters only see the results in the championships.
    Let’s not let them think they’re provoking us. Isn’t our success enough of a reward? Having been a Laker fan since 1969, I wouldn’t stoop so low as to allow someone who roots, not for a particular team, but anyone who might be able to beat the Lakers, the satisfaction of thinking they are irritating me.
    Shrug them off! Watch them disappear. Just sit back….., and smile. Smile the kind of smile that says, “The entire league is trying to put together a team, just to beat us. And we’ve been in 3 straight finals, winning the last 2, and haven’t had a full year of service FROM OUR STARTING CENTER, YET!”
    Let those poor souls commiserate in their frustrations. Let them reach out like a drowning man. Let’s pretend we’re in the boat, watching them. And instead of goading them, we look at them, and we just smile. :) :) :) :>). Lakers fans.., Let me know you’re smiling.

  21. bballfan - Jul 23, 2010 at 5:31 PM

    ed are you delusional best weather a 90% humidity hahahah best woemn yeah if you like celulite and old ladys (remember miami is the retirement capital of the world) nightlife brother please miami dont hold a candle to new york L A or even las vegas, beaches hell too damned cold and your waves suck, but the sand is nice (so 1 out of 3 isnt bad)and basketball eam dude put down your cuban crack pipe and smell the coffee

  22. bballfan - Jul 23, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    actually lakers revamped to better themselves against a stronger western conference teams like suns nuggets and spurs even the trailblazers. i seriously doubt miami was even in thier afterthoughts when it came to making its self stronger, i mean lets face it for the last 10 years the west has been the stronger division, giving credit to the 3 blips on the radar (shaq/wad- heat, the 08 celtics, and the 04 pistons)so seriously check your facts and try talking reality not conjecture or idol fantasy

  23. whutevr - Jul 23, 2010 at 6:01 PM

    i think you been drinkin 2 much if you think as a fan of the lakers we are even registering miami and even a minor threat, i give that wade is great too bad he got stuck with a selfish over grown adolescent like lebron and i wanna be da man bosh, if anything i think i see a hell of a lot more SCARED and soon to be disapointed heat fans………..KEEP GOING LAKERS

  24. mtyQuinn - Jul 23, 2010 at 6:15 PM

    I couldn’t have said it better myself!

  25. mtyQuinn - Jul 23, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    Damn Skippy! Benn a Live long Laker Fan Since 1975

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