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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. Krespino - Jul 23, 2010 at 7:07 PM

    Exactly. As long as Gasol and Bynum are there, no other team get the NBA championship. Boston can’t possibly match those two.

  2. melody - Jul 23, 2010 at 8:37 PM

    you are , lakers deserved the chsampionship because they are really really good..Lakers will do so again and i,m sure of that! GO GO GO again for the LAKERS…..

  3. Nick - Jul 23, 2010 at 8:50 PM

    a win is a win, douche. And the “aging big 3” beat everyone else in the east convincingly. Does that mean they sucked? Think about it.

  4. G. Giovanni - Jul 23, 2010 at 9:28 PM

    The heat has to prove they can win a championship, the lakers won 2 in a row. The lakers aren’t scared of the heat. Kobe and Fish have 5 rings! How many does King James have?

  5. jonnymac - Jul 23, 2010 at 9:51 PM

    oh my damns (my new saying since several of you are using Child Please these days on this post)….the Lakers did indeed get better defensively and offensively. Gotta love how ESPN’s not covering this interesting developing story.Barnes is definitely a more versatile pick than what Raja Bell would’ve been, and Blake will be lighting it up with the 3’s and assists. Oh and by the way both can penetrate to break down D’s.
    Oh and did we forget to mention the two draft picks (I mean steals) of Ebanks and Caracter? Wow…while Miami was wasting all that money and press building a cozy overpriced nest for 3, the lakers just built and great ENTIRE TEAM on the cheap!
    And trust me if you think the Lakers won with a banged up & injured Kobe and an injured Bynum. Wait till both of them are consistently healthy next season….well like I started off saying: Oh my damns!

  6. Anonymous - Jul 23, 2010 at 10:42 PM


  7. Larry - Jul 23, 2010 at 10:53 PM

    Lakers will beat the Heat like a red headed step child. The Lakers will give Phil a big going away gift.

  8. loungefly - Jul 23, 2010 at 11:30 PM

    The back-to-back NBA champions, the Los Angeles Lakers added more depth to an already deep lineup. Nice…reloading. I see these haters talking smack…well, let your team continue to do what they do…I’ll stick with my guys, who by the way won the past two championships…and working on a third one. Until then, we are the champs. Deal with it. Oh, and this shoulda, woulda, coulda stuff…just stop. Really? You haters sound like a bunch of babies…your team lost…move on! They don’t put in the records book, “ooohhh if Perkins…blah, blah, etc…” nah son, it says, “Lakers…2010 Champs”…Respect the champs.

  9. loungefly - Jul 23, 2010 at 11:40 PM

    Well Said!

  10. loungefly - Jul 23, 2010 at 11:52 PM

    Dude…quit with your whiny crap. Just a hater. don’t gimme that centerpiece crap…this is a team game. We know who is vital to a team’s success. I see a lot of your posts and they all suck. Your team lost. Lakers are the champs. Get over it, ya baby!

  11. blazed - Jul 24, 2010 at 2:00 AM

    your right. people keep villafying lebron. cause he’s a worthless doosh. and we will see whats what in the finals. because…what we’ve seen is lebron fail to put a team on his shoulders and win a championship, period. kobe…mmmmmm not so much. that dude is an animal and is jordanesque in so many ways. lebron is weak. and still doesnt have a championship in the bag just bc he plays with wade bosh and um….no one. even if he gets ONE. he’s small potatoes. LAKERS

  12. Anonymous - Jul 24, 2010 at 4:37 AM


  13. playmkr9 - Jul 24, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    Position for position the Lakers are the best without question. We have too many different looks that cause match up problems for all other teams. We have two legit 7 footers in the paint that will be healthy this year at the same time. The best part of it all is we have the greatest closer in the history of the NBA, no need to mention his name because you all know it very well!!!

  14. NickLA - Jul 24, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    As a Laker fan, I personally wish Miami got really strong, because beating 3 supposed “superstars” will propel Kobe beyond Jordan for good and possibly win more titles than Jordan. But Miami and Pat Riley are the ones scared right now.
    If Chris Paul gets traded to form a big 3 either in New York or Orlando, that will make 2 teams from the east with big 3’s, either NY or Orlando and Boston. Miami is actually the big 2 1/2. Chris Bosh is way overrated. Gasol or Bynum would have him for lunch, as would Superman in orlando.
    Laker fans, honestly we shouldn’t have won the title last time because Bynum was hurt, Kobe was hurt, the bench was dead. Now both Bynum and Kobe will be healthy and the bench got a huge upgrade. I want Miami now. I think a christmas day 30 point beating will put them in their place.

  15. NickLA - Jul 24, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    BTW, real Miami Heat fans will always wear the Wade Jersey. The bandwagon, Labron “princess” james fans will buy a soccer jersey if it had his name writen in it. This guy is the greatest hype in the history of the NBA. He quit-that makes him a loser any day. Wade is the real deal. He’s a fighter.

  16. humanomaly - Jul 24, 2010 at 10:19 PM

    and what were the other 28 teams in the league doing during game 7????

  17. Be-z - Jul 24, 2010 at 11:04 PM

    ppl are forgeting that kobe played hurt all year, and still was the best player overall in the nba. now imagine a completely healthy kobe, healthy bynum and thr strong supporting cast, yeah the rest of the league needs to be scared,the mamba is only getting better !

  18. Laker4Life08/24 - Jul 25, 2010 at 6:47 AM

    Actually it was Kobe and Shaq and pieces AROUND them tat won those 1st 3. If niether one of them was on the team they would each only have 1 title a piece. And Jordan had to have Pippen before he could win his 3, That Team was built by Phil also he always has a decent or great 2 guard and a Big, And a guy who can score a little and mostly play D. Then surrounds them all with shooters. Now just think if Jordan had not refused to play in the triangle offense for 3 yrs he may have won more than 6. I as a Laker fan since the days of Elgin Baylor. Don’t compare eras they do run into to each other when one is going out another comes in. No one has to like Kobe even if he wasn’t a Laker I’d have to give props where they are due, The Guy is the truth PERIOD! Magic was the man in his day, Jordan in his and Now Kobe in his, People and the MEDIA are the ones who keep trying to say so and so is the Next Jordan. Is Kobe’s game like Jordans? Yes But even Jordan said Kobe is way more atheletic than he was and has a better Bball IQ (it’s in his book read it). Jordans game was Just like Dr J’s (go look at the film and you will see it. All these cats in the NBA grow up idolizing a player and tend to try and be like them. But know that The Lakers bench did get better and they will win it all again. The east is gonna come down too celtics/Magic again. Give Miami atleast 2yrs before they even get close to a title.

  19. Clarence - Jul 26, 2010 at 12:04 AM

    Please that’s enough already of the Kobe and Laker’s thing. Maybe he does have several championship rings but he is not even close to Michael Jordon talent level. Granted he is good but trust me not deserving to be mentioned in the same sentence with the all time great. These guys luckly got pass a handicapped old timer’s team in a seven game series to be handed the championship last year. This comes from a fan generated in the 60’s. I’ve seen the likes of Wilt, Bill Russel, Big O, Dr. J, and the other big boys of old. To all Laker Fans beware Miami will be a force, you’d better beef up and get ready for what’s to come.

  20. Laker AL - Jul 27, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    Hey Tejano2k, Just in case you haven’t noticed, Lakers Fans are Everywhere. Even in your household. Who cares where a person lives, Lakers rule! You are probably a closet Laker fan as well! Oh, by the way, they just got Better. This time we will take no Prisoners! The only problem that we had was the Bench, and now that has been addressed. Just be quiet and enjoy the show. THE LAKE SHOW!

  21. Go Lakers - Jul 27, 2010 at 1:52 PM

    It’s a shame when you can’t face reality, didn’t the so called king get beat by those Celtics. Didn’t the Orlando Magic get beat by those same Celtics, and finally didn’t those same Miami Heat get beat by those same Celtics. I guess reality has passed you by, from the last time I look The So Called King, Wade and Bosh and a fantasy the would dominate and win not 1, not 2… but six seven champiionships, but they forgot to wake to see, They still may get beat by those same old Celtics, Orlando, and now on the seam Chicago, before they can meet the True King Lakers.

  22. Ali - Aug 2, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    Well said, Henry!
    Mr. “LAKER FAN”,
    I don’t want to rush and judge you as a racist. But, if it quacks like duck and walks like a duck then it has to be a duck.
    There are so many crappy shows on tv that I don’t advise my kids to watch, knowing that if they would like to watch them, they would’ve figured out a way to do so.

  23. anthony - Aug 8, 2010 at 1:09 PM

    all i know is the lakers won.

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