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Lakers sign veteran center Theo Ratliff; Is Matt Barnes next?

The Lakers took another step toward rounding out their bench, agreeing to terms with 37-year-old center Theo Ratliff on Thursday.

Ratliff, who signed a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum of $1.35 million, gives the Lakers an experienced defensive presence among their reserves. Next season will be the 16th for Ratliff, who began his career with Detroit in 1995, when Andrew Bynum was 8 years old.

Ratliff didn't do much with San Antonio most of last season, averaging 1.6 points and 1.9 rebounds in 21 games, though he posted better numbers after being traded to Charlotte, where he started 26 of 28 games and averaged 5.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots in 22.3 minutes a game. Defense has always been Ratliff's speciality: He has averaged 2.4 blocked shots per game in his career and led the league three times in the category.

The Lakers now have 10 players under contract next season and will find out Friday if Matt Barnes will be No. 11. The free-agent forward could sign for $1.77 million next season, the most the Lakers could offer any free agent after spending $4 million of next season's $5.77-million mid-level exception on guard Steve Blake.

Barnes has been offered between $3 million and $4 million next season by Cleveland, but the Lakers are appealing because they are two-time defending champions.


“If he decides to play there [in Los Angeles], it’s his desire to play there,” Barnes’ agent, Aaron Goodwin, said Thursday in a phone interview. “He has a relationship with Kobe and he’ll make a decision in the next 24 hours.”


Barnes has averaged 7.3 points a game in his seven-year career and is a 32.9% shooter from three-point range. He has been with seven teams since leaving UCLA after his senior year in 2002.


Earlier this week, Barnes appeared to be headed to Toronto for two years and $9 million as part of a sign-and-trade transaction, but the deal fell through. He averaged 8.8 points and 25.9 minutes a game last season for Orlando.

--Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner

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>>He will be for the Lakers what PJ Brown was for Boston

Funny, but I was thinking of the same comparison.


>>>Did we save any money by signing Theo over DJ...
>>>I know we only paid DJ 900+K last season, but we signed Radliff to 1.35 mil...

And now for the somewhat confusing answer to the CBA question.

Ratliff signed for 1.35 (or to be specific: $1,352,181) because that's the minimum the Lakers could pay a player who has played 10+ years in the NBA.

They could have signed MBenga has played 6 years in the league, so the minimum that the Lakers could have payed him would have been $1,069,509.

But there's a catch. If a player has been in the NBA for three or more seasons, and is playing under a one-year contract (as Ratliff willl), the league actually reimburses the team for part of his salary - any amount above the minimum salary level for a two-year veteran.

For Ratliff, that means that the Lakers will actually only pay him $854,389. The league will pay the rest of his salary.

Note that if MBenga would have agreed to a 1 year deal, then the Lakers would have been paying him the exact same amount as Ratliff, it's just that the league wouldn't be paying him as much.

In case you're wondering WHY they do this reimbursing, it's so that teams don't always choose the youngest players possible when filling out their team with minimum salary players - it's to help the older vets get on rosters if they're better than a somewhat cheaper younger vet.

Actually, Ratliff-MBenga is a bit like Artest-Ariza. An older, slower, but better defending player taking the place of a younger, faster, but not quite as good a defender. I see it as a slight (but not big) upgrade.

Well, that certainly clears up a few things, doesn't it?

1) No way are the Lakers doing anything with Bynum. Fantasy League playuhs can relax now.
2) The Lakers upgraded significantly. This is now a killer defensive team. Length. Toughness. Perimeter. Boards. Wow!
3) This lineup will be especially tough in the playoffs. It's definitely the Phil Jackson formula.

Lastly, it's just a hunch, but I still feel that Mitch has one more card to play before he calls it a day. As unlikely as it may seem, given the numbers now, I'm guessing we'll see Shannon sign soon to complete the whole package for our next championship season.

i can understand ariza being misled by his agent last year, but for shannon to make the same mistake, having seen what happened to ariza, is simply inexcusable.

>>>>Barnes replaces Morrison

Technically, at this point it's looking like Luke replaces Morrison and Barnes replaces Luke (at least until Luke's back gets better).

Or possibly Barnes replaces Brown.

Unlike Morrison, Barnes will not spend most games dressed in a suit.

Assuming they finish the roster with Caracter and Ebanks, one of those two is the guy who will be in a suit most nights.

If they also sign Brown (which I doubt, but I wouldn't completely rule it out), then it will be BOTH Caracter and Ebanks sporting suits.

>>>i can understand ariza being misled by his agent last year, but for shannon
>>>to make the same mistake, having seen what happened to ariza, is simply
>>> inexcusable.

And the real irony is that Shannon was SIGNED. He had to opt out of 2.1 million of the second year of his contract to become a free agent. Now it's possible he'll make less to play elsewhere. Not very bright move by Shannon. But I guess he saw it like everyone else. There were a bunch of teams with TONS of cap space and not all of them were going to get LeBron. What he didn't count on is that they only really over-spent on bigs. Lots of bigs got a lot of over-priced contracts.

While the Lakers will most likely not be in the Chris Paul chase, they have signed important role players to help them next season. I have written an article for my blog ( about the Lakers off season moves. Here is the direct link to my post:
Feel free to comment on my blog.

An excellent wrap up by Laker Tom. This was a truly exceptional offseason for the two time defending champs. So much hype was directed toward Miami, and with good reason. That team went from an also-ran to one of the top teams in the league. Well done Mr. Riley.

However, when the two-time defending champs can keep their starting lineup intact (and reasonably expect improvement from the their SF and C positions due to familiarity and health), retain their coach, and significantly upgrade their bench, you have to be duly impressed.

The backup center spot is not a significant role on this club, so not much needs to be said there. But when you look at the improvement in the 2nd unit backcourt (Blake and Barnes are vastly better than Farmar & Brown) and the improved athleticism that Ebanks and Caracter bring over Morrison & Powell, and champs are looking much improved, which spells disaster for the league. So, Miami, enjoy your summer, because next spring is going to be Laker time all over again....

Theo Ratliff will be very comfortable in LA...good for a laugh

Horrible Horrible Horrible!!! Jerry Buss really really really closed the wallet up this season. What a disappointment. Should have been Tmac and Shaq.
I dont want to hear any rationalizations about it. No sense or point of it.
Wait and see, Wait and see, Lakers will be down any decent big man come the end of the season and poor Gasol will end up playing out of position.
Jerry/Mitch you guys forked up this time! Prove me wrong, prove me wrong puhleeze!!!

@Mti312"I dont mind losing the 2 or 3 meaningless break away dunks Farmar and Brown provided. We will tsill get those meaningless break aways just not as spectacular."

Just my thoughts.

Awh yeah we have gotten a deeper, more skilled, experienced, tough-nosed bench no doubt. Barney is like a late bloomer, loved by every contending team, even if he's a journeyman. Shannon brown however has been a journeyman who thrived in the open lanes he got with our LA Lakers. Shannon offered less skillsets but I think he will get better in time, he is still a very very young pup. I heard the Bulls were going to go after him after the Lakers signed Barnes, so he's back in the east, and a good team at that.

Welcome to EL-EY Barney!

@SuperDom (should have been SuperDumb but that's just me, and oh well realistic Laker fans) "Horrible Horrible Horrible!!! Jerry Buss really really really closed the wallet up this season. What a disappointment. Should have been Tmac and Shaq.
I dont want to hear any rationalizations about it. No sense or point of it.
Wait and see, Wait and see, Lakers will be down any decent big man come the end of the season and poor Gasol will end up playing out of position.
Jerry/Mitch you guys forked up this time! Prove me wrong, prove me wrong puhleeze!!!"


Again you have to point out WHY you are naming Shaq/Tmac. What reason? What price? What role will they play? Is it smart to pay a combined $9MIL (approximately, to sign both of them, despite the Lakers are already WAY over the luxury tax threshold) or only a small fraction while still upgrading. Keep in mind time is money, time is a player going here or there, a competitor getting this player or this other one. You can't mess around. If the "Mitch" hadn't talked to Barnes' agent, he would have been most likely a Cavalier right now earning almost twice what he will with the Lakers. Go read 'Art of the Deal' by Donald Trump you might learn a thing or two about how to sell something. Lakers win on this one, they stay relatively close to the salary tax # of last year, and still managed to keep the current core while upgrading on defense while adding experience.

This is why you aren't a GM, you would have traded for Shaq who will ask for a minimum of around $5 taking up most of the MLE to back up Bynum who most likely will stay healthier this season and the Lakers still have the depth to compensate for said issue *(so the Lakers wouldn't have the chance to replace Jordan Farmar and give the Lakers a legitimate pointguard to back up Fisher)*. Lakers would have Shaq, Gasol, and Bynum as their frontcourt. But guess what buddy, Theo Ratliff will fulfill what Shaq would have, take up sizeable space, and defend, for around $5mil & change- cheaper. Again, why you shouldn't be a GM. Yes Shaq rebounds, is 7'1 and 350 lbs, and can still give you 10 points a game, that's understood, but it was not financially feasible off the bench. It makes no sense to the Buss family. Shaq DEMANDED $5MIL and even the Hawks who have more money to spend aren't giving him that.

Secondly, nn to your point about Tracy McGrady. Tracy McGrady would have been an intriguing get for the Lakers. The deal is Barnes came for cheaper than TMAC would have, and basically, yet again, shows up on defense, and can contribute significantly on that side of the coin scoring wise. He does not ask for much offensively and can still hold his own. Barnes also replaces Morrison/Shannon Brown, and happens to be one of the most multi-faceted journeymen in the league, and the Lakers got him on the cheap as well. Selling point: defending champs two times over, the allure of coming back to the city of his alma mater, ability to win titles, entertainment options (his wife is a reality TV star), he knows the city, he knows our roster, wants to avenge the Magic.

Thirdly, Theo Ratliff replaces DJ Mbenga and still comes in cheap, does what he does defensively, and is a seasoned veteran willing to win and put the work in and knows how to help his team. About as good as you could've gotten in the off season. Fourthly, stop it with your 5 !'s and jumping off the Lakers wagon just because the Lakers upgraded. Sometimes the grass isn't green enough for some people.

Is there a posting guide for this blog?

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