Friday July 23 2010 – 10:48am Eastern – Toronto, ON
So, Matt Barnes has signed with the LA Lakers?
Is anybody surprised by this?
As I said on the Fan 590 the other day – and I’m sure many of you theorized this as well – the choice for Barnes seemed clear once the sign-and-trade option fell through with the Magic and Raptors.
To recap, Toronto had already spent most of its mid-level exception on forward Linas Kleiza, so they couldn’t afford to sign Barnes outright. Thus, they needed help from Orlando to orchestrate the sign-and-trade scenario. But because of the fact that the Magic had employed Barnes for only one season (last year), they didn’t own his “Bird rights” and as a result – based on the rules of the CBA – they could only sign (and then trade) the swingman to Toronto for $1.9 million or less. Barnes was looking for a contract that would pay him in the neighborhood of $4+ million – and the Raps were willing to give him that; the CBA simply prevented them from being able to do so.
So Barnes was back on the open market again – free to sign wherever he wanted.
Word was that the scrappy rebounder and defender was not only looking for playing time, he wanted security and a chunk of change too. Who could blame him! He would have had all of that in Toronto. But when the higher dollar figures simply weren’t going to come through in T.O. a decision had to be made: Sign for about $2 million in Toronto – where you’ll likely be scratching and clawing to make the post-season – or sign in LA, Boston, Miami (for example) for a similar amount of cash and have a realistic shot at not only a playoff berth, but a CHAMPIONSHIP?
Despite overtures from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Barnes took his act to the Lakers (for less $$ than what the Cavs were offering) to play alongside Kobe Bryant and join the quest for a third-straight title.
Unfortunately for the Raptors, Barnes’ name will be added to a list of players (including Boris Diaw and Tyson Chandler) that could’ve / should’ve / would’ve come to Toronto in the post-Bosh era. A starting five of Jarrett Jack, DeMar DeRozan, Barnes, Andrea Bargnani, and Chandler would have looked good in the East – with Leandro Barbosa, Diaw, Sonny Weems, Amir Johnson, and Ed Davis coming off the bench. But it’s all for naught.
Bryan Colangelo now has more work to do. But he is armed with two separate trade exceptions and a small amount of financial/cap wiggle room and a point guard (Jose Calderon) that is highly-regarded around the league (in spite of what some of you may think).
Training camp (in Vancouver) is still 10 weeks away, so there’s plenty of time to work some magic and try to lessen the blow of the two trades that feel apart in the last 10 days.