Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs

Report: Matt Barnes nearing deal with Los Angeles Clippers


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.

PBT Extra: Kobe Bryant understands now is time to walk away

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It was expected Kobe Bryant would retire at the end of this season.

It was not expected Kobe would make that official on Nov. 29 — it’s caught the media at Staples Center Sunday (of which I was one) and the fans by surprise.

In this PBT Extra, I talk with Jenna Corrado about the mood inside Staples Center Sunday.

More importantly, I discuss the sense I got that Kobe understands it’s time to walk away, and he is at peace with that.

Luke Walton: Warriors concerned about health, not 72 wins

Andre Iguodala, Luke Walton
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Stephen Curry acknowledges the Warriors – who are 18-0 and won four straight to end last season – talk about the NBA record of 33 consecutive wins.

But what about another major record Golden State is chasing, 72 wins in a season?

Shooting guard Klay Thompson called it possible. General manager Bob Myers deemed it impossible.

Interim coach Luke Walton would prefer everyone just keep quiet.

Walton, via CSN Bay Area:

“The 72 thing is far, far away,” Walton said. “We shouldn’t be spending any time thinking about that.

“I’ve also said before that we’re not going to coach this season trying to chase that record,” Walton said

“We’re still going to give players nights off on back-to-backs,” he added. “And we’re going to do our best to limit minutes for some of our players. Our main concern is being healthy come playoff time.”

I don’t think Golden State will win 72 games, but prioritizing health won’t necessary stop the Warriors. They’re so deep.

They outscore opponents by 5.8 points per 100 possessions when Curry sits, 5.6 when Draymond Green sits. Those marks would rank seventh among all NBA teams.

Golden State has the luxury of resting players and continuing to win. That’s what makes the chase for 72 realistic. This team is less likely than most to wear down late in a season where it’s pushing to win every game.

Health entering the playoffs is important, but a 72-win season would raise these Warriors to legendary status. If they’re in range late in the season, I think they’ll go for it – even if the top seed is already secured.

But for now, Walton is probably taking the right approach. Plenty of teams start fast (though never this fast) then drift back toward the pack. No point risking Golden State’s health yet.

Kevin Durant to media: You treated Kobe Bryant ‘like s—‘

Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant once told the media, “You guys really don’t know s—.”

The Thunder star expressed regret, but if he knew how we were going to treat Kobe Bryant, he might have stuck to his guns.

Durant, via Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman:

I did idolize Kobe Bryant. I studied him, wanted to be like him. He was our Michael Jordan. I watched Michael towards the end of his career when he was with the Wizards, and I seen that’s what Kobe emerged as the guy for us.

I’ve been disappointed this year because you guys treated him like s—. He’s a legend, and all I hear is about how bad he’s playing, how bad he’s shooting. It’s time for him to hang it up. You guys treated one of our legends like s—, and I didn’t really like it. So hopefully, now you can start being nice to him now that he decided to retire after this year. It was sad the way he was getting treated, in my opinion.

But he had just an amazing career, a guy who changed the game for me as a player mentally and physically. Means so much to the game of basketball. Somebody I’m always going to look to for advice, for help, for anything. Just a brilliant, brilliant, intelligent man. And it’s sad to see him go.

Kobe is shooting 20% from the floor and 30% on 3-pointers for a 2-14 team. How else should we describe his season?

Why not bash the person most publicly critical of Kobe? Or the many people around the NBA who recognize how far Kobe has fallen? Or Byron Scott, who has repeatedly intensified discussion of Kobe’s demise?

Why is the media, which is not some monolithic entity anyway, the primary target?

There are writers who fawn over Kobe, writers who criticize him and many more who do both. We don’t all think alike.

If we did, Durant would be bound to treat Kobe like s—, too.

Hassan Whiteside thanks Hassan Whiteside in Kobe Bryant tribute


Like many players, Hassan Whiteside posted a tribute to Kobe Bryant upon the Laker star’s retirement announcement.

But Whiteside’s is a bit, um, different.

Whiteside salutes himself for making Kobe smile. (That’s not a smile.) The Heat center also tweeted a screenshot of the Instagram post with the hashtag “#koberetire,” which sounds pretty commanding.

Is Whiteside in on the joke or is he that self-centered? I’m honestly not entirely sure.