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.