Sep 12, 2012, 6:59 PM EDT
Well, at least Matt Barnes may not have to go shopping for a new house.
Barnes spent the past couple seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers but he wasn’t likely to stick around with the team next season — his minutes dried up in the playoffs as his three-point shooting went cold, then he was arrested in the offseason on an outstanding traffic warrant (something that may not be serious but certainly doesn’t help his case). He said he was still talking to them, but the Lakers didn’t seem to be listening.
However, the Clippers were, according to Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated.
Sources say the 32-year-old is strongly leaning toward joining the other inhabitants of Staples Center, and a deal could be formalized later this week. Barnes turned down a more lucrative deal with Cleveland two summers ago to sign with the Lakers at the behest of Kobe Bryant, and it appears a similar superstar dynamic could be in play with the Clippers and Chris Paul.
Paul, who carries more Clippers clout than ever these days because of his looming free agency in 2013, has been included in the team’s decision-making process throughout the summer and would love to make Barnes the latest addition. He appears on the verge of getting his wish. The Clippers re-signed a Paul favorite in point guard Chauncey Billups earlier this summer, secured a five-year extension with forward Blake Griffin and also added the likes of scorer Jamal Crawford, veteran small forward Grant Hill and reliable big man Ronny Turiaf.
Amick is being gentle here — Paul and his agents at CAA are running the Clippers’ player moves like it’s Carmelo Anthony’s Knicks. A lot of moves the Clippers are making are designed to keep Paul happy — and that means get him to re-sign with the team when he becomes a free agent this summer.
But if Paul is recruiting that is a big plus — like all of us, players want to be wanted. Fellow players recruiting can work if the money is about the same.
It’s not like the Clippers have a big need on the wing — they have Jamal Crawford and Grant Hill at the three, Chauncey Billups and Eric Bledsoe at the two. That’s pretty good depth already so minutes are not easy to come by here.
Barnes is still talking with the Lakers, Heat and Nets according to the report, but the Clippers may be the front runners. Wherever he signs, we are talking about a veteran minimum or close to it deal.
At that price Barnes, with his defense and athleticism off the bench, provides a good value to the Clippers. Even if they are already loaded at the wing.
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