The Los Angeles Lakers won the battle for one of the last fussed-over free agents on Thursday, agreeing to terms with Orlando Magic free agent forward Matt Barnes on a two-year, $3.6 million deal. Barnes turned down more money from the Cleveland Cavaliers, who had offered a multi-year deal worth more than $3 million annually. The Celtics and Heat also had pursued Barnes, who finally found a team after a proposed sign-and-trade deal with the Toronto Raptors fell apart earlier in the week.
Barnes averaged 8.8 points and 5.5 rebounds in his one season in Orlando. (The Lakers will be Barnes's eighth NBA team.) But both Miami and Boston could only offer the veteran's minimum of $1.146 mllion for Barnes; the Heat used its remaining cap room to sign forward Mike Miller, and the Celtics used their mid-level exception on Jermaine O'Neal.
Meanwhile, the Lakers had about $1.8 million remaining after signing guard Steve Blake to a four-year, $16 million free agent deal. Blake replaced Jordan Farmar, who took a three-year deal in New Jersey. Barnes will likely back up Ron Artest next season, though league sources say Lakers Coach Phil Jackson wants less drama next season and could be looking to quiet things down in the locker room after Los Angeles' ride to a second straight championship.
Barnes drew attention with his confrontation with Kobe Bryant in a game last March and his subsequent accusation that Bryant threw numerous elbows without punishment and that he would not back down from challenging Bryant in the future. That assertion may have impressed Bryant -- who, a source says, pressed hard for the Lakers to get Barnes just as he had pushed them to sign former nemesis Raja Bell. Bell opted to return to the Utah Jazz with a three-year, $10 million deal earlier this month.
Barnes announced on his Twitter page Monday that he was going to the Raptors, and league sources said it was a two-year, $9 million deal. But either the league shot down the proposed mechanism for making the sign-and-trade work, the Magic or Raptors didn't interpret a cap rule correctly or Barnes simply jumped the gun. Whatever the reason, the deal fell apart Tuesday and Barnes was left with no place to make the money he supposedly was getting in Toronto, with his agent unable to find a suitable landing place.
All Orlando could offer Barnes, even to facilitate a sign-and-trade, was $1.92 million next year, due to his "non-Bird" status; he had only played one season with the Magic.
Yahoo! Sports first reported the deal between Barnes and the Lakers.
-- posted 7/22/10, 10:05 p.m.
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tjsahi wrote:Barnes is also gud player, but not good for lakers, Because lakers already have so many players, who play better than him.
Not really ... Barnes > Vujacic. Barnes > Walton. he'll probably be the 8th or 9th guy but still, on a team that deep, he'll be getting at least 20 mins
iamagm wrote:This is actually a good move by Mitch K. Ron Artest + Matt Barnes on the outside and Gasol + Bynum on the inside. I dare you to score.
They are tough and with Artest and Barnes, won't take crap from anybody. That toughness might be the difference in a finals series against a team like Orlando or Miami
warriorsstepup wrote:I foresee league leaders in technical fouls, this is going to be a very dirty team, take notes warriors and rest of the NBA, they are the champs for a reason, basketball is not always a pretty sport.
You have to be serious and want to win. That isn't always pretty and appealing but it is what it is. I credit champion teams like the Lakers for not going too far but doing what it takes and with Barnes, that will only increase, maybe sometimes going too far, but definately aiming to win