Free agency officially begins July 1, and while all eyes will be on Dwight Howard, the Los Angeles Lakers are interested in bringing back small forward Matt Barnes, who played two seasons (2010-2012) with the team. According to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times:
“The Clippers would like to bring back free-agent small forward Matt Barnes, who has drawn interest from the Lakers, according to some executives.”
Things didn’t exactly end well for Matt Barnes in the purple and gold. Although he averaged 7.3 points and 4.9 rebounds, late-season injuries led to disappointing playoff performances. When Barnes became a free agent, he expressed his desires to re-sign with the Lakers, but an arrest and conflicts with Mike Brown destroyed any possibilities. The Lakers decided to part ways with Barnes and he eventually signed with the Los Angeles Clippers.
This past season, Matt Barnes was the catalyst off the bench for the Clippers and averaged 10.3 points and 4.6 rebounds. He attributed his strong play to having a coach in Vinny Del Negro who was confident in his abilities and allowed him to play freely — something former Lakers coach Mike Brown never allowed him to do.
When the Lakers decided to hire Mike D’Antoni in November, all Lakers fans were thinking of how well Matt Barnes would have fit in this perimeter-oriented offense. Instead of watching Barnes fill the lane and finish at the rim, we all painfully watched the “Slowtime” Lakers.
Under D’Antoni’s system in Phoenix, Barnes had one of his best seasons in his career, averaging 10.2 points and 5.5 rebounds.
Bringing back Matt Barnes would shore up numerous deficiencies the Lakers had this past season — especially on the defensive end. The first two seasons in the purple and gold didn’t end well for Barnes, but you know what they say, “Third time’s the charm.”
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