Matt Barnes is one of those players who seems a little too good to still be out there as a free agent, not snapped up by some teams. Maybe even a return to the Lakers — his defense, willingness to work off the ball, and athleticism seem a fit with Steve Nash and some of the things the Lakers will be doing.
But it’s not likely to happen, the Lakers have been pretty clear they didn’t plan to bring Barnes back. Even though Barnes wants it to, as he told TMZ in an interview (Lakers role players end up on TMZ — and you wonder why people want to play in L.A.). Ben Golliver of Eye on Basketball watched TMZ so you don’t have to (hat tip to IamaGM).
“I’m actually a free agent right now,” Barnes said in a TMZ.com video interview. “So [the Lakers] are one of the teams we are talking to. There are a couple of other teams. Hopefully we’ll get this arrest situation out of the way so I can go ahead and move forward with my career.”
Barnes was arrested for an outstanding traffic warrant and resisting arrest in the Los Angeles area city of Manhattan Beach.
That doesn’t help his cause, the Lakers were not making a big move to bring him back before that. Suffice to say that after a couple of years with the Lakers Barnes is more popular with fans and teammates (he is liked in the locker room) then he is with management.
That said, he averaged 7.8 points and 5.5 rebounds a game in nearly 23 minutes a game for the Lakers, and he plays solid defense. There are teams that could use a veteran like that. Someone will pick him up before or during training camp. It just likely will not be the Lakers.
Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.
So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.
LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.
When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.
At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.
The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.
China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.
China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.
Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.
This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.
The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.