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Matt Barnes a perfect fit for the Lakers

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The chippiness and physical play last season became so overwhelming that Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Orlando Magic guard Matt Barnes had to be separated. Now, with the Lakers signing Barnes on Thursday, the two probably will be embracing a lot more. If that sounds like something that's happened before, well, something similar took place last season.

In the 2009 playoffs, Ron Artest ran across the court and got into Bryant's face after he thought he was elbowed in the throat. With the two helping the Lakers win the 2010 championship, each oozed enthusiasm when speaking about the other's work ethic. Barnes tried to test Bryant last season in a regular-season matchup so much that he pretended to inbound the ball at Bryant's face, and the Black Mamba refused to flinch. With Barnes joining the Lakers to bolster the backcourt defense, don't expect Bryant to flinch next season when he talks about how much Barnes brings to the team.

It's an interesting situation we're in these days. There's been much debate recently about whether past generations of NBA players would have joined forces in a fashion similar to what LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have done in Miami. Besides Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird already having solid supporting casts around them, many point to the reputation that all three carried in being obsessive about beating their opponents. Barnes now crosses into friendly territory, but the circumstances are different. As shown in that game last season, Bryant and Barnes couldn't stand each other.

But similar to the Bryant-Artest dynamic, the very same reason the two nearly came to blows on opposite teams serves as the very same reason that they will bond together on the same team. Artest might have often appeared lost in the triangle offense, but Bryant knew he'd give it his all every game. Barnes may need to keep his emotions in check, but Bryant likely recognizes that passion can easily help spark a team that's often gotten beaten defensively.

The Lakers' acquisition of Barnes also neatly fits into their off-season storyline, in which General Manager Mitch Kupchak has added tiny wrinkles to make the two-time defending champions even more dangerous. With Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher returning, the entire corps remains intact. In acquiring Steve Blake, the Lakers added an immediate offensive punch to the backcourt reserves. With Devin Ebanks, Derrick Caracter and Theo Ratliff, the Lakers have dependable options to back up the loaded and talented front line. And after acquiring Barnes, the team brings in another Bryant adversary who will soon become another worshiper.

And when a player is in Bryant's good graces, that usually spells success.

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: twitter.com/latmedina. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Former Orlando Magic forward Matt Barnes agreed to a two-year deal with the Lakers on Thursday, turning down a more lucrative offer from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Credit: Elsa/Getty Images.

 
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Hey Mamba, of course I'm doing good. How are you doing? I like hearing this type of news. We don't lose anyone of real value to the team and we gain two hard-nosed defenders...all in one day. Love it...now sign Shannon and I'll be really happy.

I will admit I honestly thought Ratliffe had retired but oh well :-)

They all have the same agent...

Arn Tellem

NBA Players: 35
All Star Players: 9
Max-out Players: 3
Agent Ranking" 1rst

Total Salaries 2010/11: $140,954,212

Commission at 4%: $5,638,168


I think Blake and barnes are perfect additions, and it's unbelievable that we got them both for 5.8 million. Kupchak is a genius.

@LEWSTRS, Outstanding research as always sir! Thank you! Oh yeah and...OUT FREAKIN STANDING SIR!!

Great news with the Barnes signing. Shannon Brown aint comin back.

I think Blake and barnes are perfect additions, and it's unbelievable that we got them both for 5.8 million. Kupchak is a genius. Posted by: Mike G-Man | July 23, 2010 at 07:55 AM
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They don't call him GET IT DONE MITCH for nothing Mike G-Man!

LEWSTERS playing NBA trivia!


Hey MM,

If the idea's for threads begin to get hard to come by hows about a Lakers Triva thread one day. Of course wait a day to post the answers.

ouchhhhhhh,

you wrote: "Blake is a far better athlete than is generally understood, with Mitch Kupchak revealing that in Blake’s Lakers pre-draft workout he "tested out as one of the best players we’ve ever had as far as physical ability." That was seven years ago, and even though Blake still looks like a dude working behind a Subway counter, he actually does mixed martial arts that showcase his uncommon core strength."

my response: yep. I knew. I read about it right after the signing. :)

Shannon Brown: One dimensional player (slam dunk) no jump shot no BB skills.

Two rules for next season's Lakers:

1. Limit visits to tattoo shops - don't want to look like the Thugs.

2. Keep the reality stars, their cameras and their voice packs far away from Staples - preferably 3 hours West of Staples in a dinghy with no paddles.

Savvy, feisty and work ethic all describe the new players. It seems like they all know their place but will be ready to step in when needed and it will be often.

Barring injury, I think the entire bench will be getting major minutes this year to be extra fresh for the playoffs and any youthful presence in the Finals.

This Laker team and the dispensing of playing time will be a far cry from the East coast teams who spent all their wad on a small group. Those guys will have to ride their superstars all season long and keep them playing or they will lose games/seeding. The seeding in the EC will ultimately be a vital factor.

I am worried about the diva factor. We have a lot of attention grabbers (KB, Vanessa, LO, Khloe, Ron and under the bright Hollywood lights maybe Gloria). PJ and his team have their work cut out for them. There could be a chick fight looming and it won't be on-court.

Overall, I am PSYCHED about the new squad. If they can all focus on the the RING - it should be a beautiful season. I really like the bench makeup. And it will be great watching PJ's tweeks, pairings and match-up changes all along. They have me hooked from the beginning.

Lastly, as a swan song for PJ - this is his perfect team. Starters are in place but he has his "challenge" of bringing the team together to the ultimate goal. It keeps PJ interested, intrigued and passionate.

Love it.

Cheers all - PLG

OK, NOW I can give Mitch his grade: A+. The core remains, he signs Blake, Fish, Ratliff and Barnes for considerably under market values, and drafts 2 players who appear to have NBA potential in the mid-to-late second round.

I think Barnes will be a great fit. If he subs in for Artest, that's his natural position. If he subs in for Kobe, Lamar becomes the initiator with Blake (or Fish) the spot up three point shooter. When they are on the floor together, Barnes or Artest can guard either wing position, so it's not like we'd need a shooting guard in the lineup because that is where LO's ball handling versatility comes in. Blake, Barnes and Artest are all capable of hitting outside shots. This also gives us a better match-up against the Cheat for when: 1) Artest gets whistled for two quick fouls on No Rings and 2) when they have all 3 of their wings (Wade, No Rings and MM) on the floor. Pardon me for thinking that far ahead.

Blake and Barnes are passionate, energetic, proven veterans. Ratliff will be a true asset to Andrew Bynum in practice, being an NBA stalwart on defense in the low post for many years. Remember, Eleven Rings coaches in PRACTICE and the Lakers don't look JUST for game players, but for guys who give it their all in preparation for the games as well. In Blake, Barnes and Ratliff, he got those guys. With Barnes and Blake replacing the defensively weak Farmar and Brown on the perimeter, and with Ratliff adding defensive depth in the paint, this Lakers unit might wind up being one of the great defensive teams of our time. Plus they can put the ball in the hole.

Go Lakers! #17 coming up STRONG!!

@EastCoast Jessie, I replied to your post but somehow it got lost. But I'm happy whenever Laker Nation is Happy. And I'm especially Happy when you are Happy Princess.
Mamba24

I'm confused.

With the signing of Matt Barnes is Kobe still:

King Leonidas w/ the Spartans

or have we switched to

Achilles with the myrmidons?

Yes, I am extremely happy with the Matt Barnes signing.

DR. JERRY BUSS - HALL OF FAME

A must read article on the best owner in sports. We need to thank him for keeping this current team together and competitive for another chance at a championship...

http://www.nba.com/lakers/news/100719_buss_hof_career.html

Many thanks Dr. Buss!

I watched Barnes before with the Warriors and saw that he was a scrappy defender and could shoot the 3 although not consistently. I thought he was a thug but he's our thug now. Pretenders to the throne beware!

Just curious on the fad of players today, first the uniform long shorts up to the knee; second, the marks on their body as if they belonged to Maori tribe of NZ; third, the shoes are up to the ankle replacing the high tops; fourth, bumps and closed fist knuckles replaces the shaking of hands.

If you go back in time when playing basketball is not that too popular and reserved only for a particular race group, I wonder how they would react if they meet the modern player of today who came back in time. On the long shorts, the old guy would describe it as a pajama. The tattoos were a taboo at that time so they would associate them to being an ex-con. If you bump Mr. Mikan any part of his body or offer a closed fist knuckles, just curious how he would react in return.

I just thought of something that I think is hilarious... first Artest, now Barnes... is it already written in the cards that J.R. Smith will do something this year to show he really dislikes Kobe which is really his initiation to joining the team the following offseason? Just a thought.

laker nation.......our team is STACKED!!.....on paper, this team is better on all accounts (esp. defensively) from our previous two championship rosters.......now the players need to get their summer rest (except for LO, he's on TEAM USA) or surgeries (drew & kobe) and recharge their batteries for this three-peat run.....make no mistake that this will be the toughest championship defense we've had in this mini-dynasty, but i have all the confidence in the world that the (purple &)gold trophy will remain in los angeles.......

much respect to hall of fame inductee dr. buss and brilliant GM kupchak for continually putting a supreme product on the court.....

I thought he was a thug but he's our thug now. Pretenders to the throne beware! Posted by: SamLL | July 23, 2010 at 08:05 AM

NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!

wes - Unfortunately we don't have that tool - the edit button on the comments section. My only suggestion would be to proofread what you've written before hitting post

MM

I'm extremely happy with the signing of Ratliff and Barnes. Someone to mentor Drew and Kobe's approval of Barnes is GREAT. Can hardly wait to get this season started. We are going to be so much better defensively and the bench is going to allow us to rest our starters!!!!!!I also like that Matt took less money to be a LAKER. Welcome Theo and Matt!! They will know what it means to be a part of the the BEST franchise in the NBA!!

My hat is off to you Mitch!! Great job!!..Matt and Theo are both upgrades from what we had a year ago..I will miss Shannon..hopefully there is a way we can still get him..

@NewMexicoLakerLifer, Good Morning to you and your Husband.
I take it you are happy then :)
Mamba24

i only have one question regarding the 2010-2011 Laker team.

who the f*ck is gonna score on us now?

let's all not get ahead of ourselves and start being pompous asses just yet.

i love barnes and blake and respect ratliff.

however, let's just keep calm and just say we can do the best we can this new season and only in june should we start celebrating.
leave the premature celebrating to the miami trio.
for us, let's not jinx anything. thanks.

who the f*ck is gonna score on us now? Posted by: sixonezero | July 23, 2010 at 08:45 AM

OOOOOOOH WEEEEEE!! PREACH SIXONEZERO, PREACH!!!!

@SixOneZero, And the answer to your question is NO DAMN BODYY!! Why?...Cause we THE FREAKIN 16 TIME NBA CHAMPION LA LAKERS!!!

check this out:

which 5-on-5 team do you prefer?

blake
barnes
ratliff
caracter
ebanks

vs

farmar
brown
mbenga
powell
morrisson

?
we cut out the baby fat and added some chiseled muscle.
the first 5 looks like a starting five compared to the latter 5.

we cut out the baby fat and added some chiseled muscle. The first 5 looks like a starting five compared to the latter 5.Posted by: brian | July 23, 2010 at 08:52 AM

Hey Brian, "let's all not get ahead of ourselves and start being pompous asses just yet." Just playing with you bro. I agree one hundred percent.

mamba24

with all the free agent hoopla and super friends making super teams garbage, i still don't see any team that can beat us in 7.

this isn't about the new guys picking up the triangle offense. it's about a new batch of defensive minded role players that isn't going to back down just because your last name is James, Wade or Bosh.

and they want a chip. plain and simple. gone are the days of the Soft-All Glamor-Laker team. these guys are gonna punch you in the mouth and they can't do anything about it.

so i ask again. who the f*ck is gonna score on these guys?

so i ask again. who the f*ck is gonna score on these guys? Posted by: sixonezero | July 23, 2010 at 09:02 AM
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LMFAO!! Who's going to score on us? NO FREAKING BODY!!! This ISH is going to be so much fun this season. I tell you what this means. This means Phil is going after every damn record there is in his final season. 33 in a row, 16 - 0 Playoffs, 72 games regular season. Shoot we had the ffense last year and got the Defense at the End. Now just about every other game will be a blow out. We can play Fast, Slow, Big, Small. FRAK the BIG 3 we got the BIG 10. No pun intended. I confidently predict this season will be talked about as long as their is an NBA!!!!

Definitely, Mamba, people know im a big laker fan at work, but they know me to be quite mellow for one. i dont go mouthing off and hype anything up.
they ask me what do you about the playoff chances against okc/pho/boston? or what do you think about the new pick ups? i just say "i just hope we can win tonite's game" or "i think they're cool"
im a gentleman and tactful throughout the season.

only when we win 4 games in june is when I jump on their cubicle desks with my jersey on shouting "IN YO FACES, B**CHES!! LOL!"

yeah. that's me.

We now have 11 players on the roster, and assuming Luke Walton will be in the active roster and both Caracter and Ebanks singed by the Lakers...I am curiuos to see who will be the 12th player to start the season. Caracter or Ebanks??

"IN YO FACES, B**CHES!! LOL!"yeah. that's me. Posted by: brian | July 23, 2010 at 09:12 AM
*
ROFLMAO!! OH SWEET JESUS!! NOW THAT'S WHAT THE FRAK I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!! We don't have to worry about you representing my brother. KUDOS!!!
Mamba24

Shannon Brown = Gerald Green
Great dunkers? Yes.
Basketball players? Hardly.

I just thought of something that I think is hilarious... first Artest, now Barnes... is it already written in the cards that J.R. Smith will do something this year to show he really dislikes Kobe which is really his initiation to joining the team the following offseason? Just a thought.

Posted by: raiderlaker1980 | July 23, 2010 at 08:09 AM
====

Let's not underestimate Kobe Bryant's role in all this. The man has come full circle and now players WANT to play with him. And who does he recruit? The guys who have the nuts to stand up to him. First it was Artest, then Raja bell, now Matt Barnes. Hell, if Bruce Bowen was still serviceable, Kobe would have recruited him. Kobe Bryant is a Samarai warrior in a basketball uniform. He's a killer! His attitude is if you have the guts to stand up to me, I want you on my team.

I want to finally read a lengthy article about what a warrior Kobe was to earn his second consecutive NBA Finals NBA award. Why haven't we heard about the fact that he played 23 playoff games with a broken/arthritic finger on his shooting hand, a sore ankle (I forget which one) and a bum right knee among other undisclosed injuries? If this was MJ, you wouldn't have heard the end of it. yes, MJ played Game 6 against Utah in the 1998 NBA Finals with a 103 degree fever, but that's not the same as playing 23 playoff games with the injuries Kobe had.

Kobe Bryant has FOUGHT his way to the mountaintop of NBA lore and stardom without being handed a thing. And after 14 years in the NBA, tough nosed players like Steve Blake and Matt Barnes want to be a part of his legacy. Kobe Bryant is what he should have been all along; the most respected and revered star in the NBA.

The Black Mamba keeps striking in every possible way!

Sasha will be much comfortable to play with Steve Blake (pass first) than Farmar (shoot first) and will have a monster year.

GOOD MORNING LAKER FANSSSSSSSSS!!
HOW ARE WE DOING ON THIS FINE FRIDAY!

so we signed barnes and ratliff... hmmmmm

lin will be sort of a bust, i have a gut feeling about that one.

It's hard to call someone a bust when he is not even drafted.

helloooooo mamba24 my dear buddy where have you been? ive been asking around for you... we missed you man..

helloooooo mamba24 my dear buddy where have you been? ive been asking around for you... we missed you man..Posted by: LAL818 | July 23, 2010 at 09:57 AM
*
What's up LAL818? Can't a man take a few days off? Just playing with you man, how you been?

2nd unit, Blake and Sasha at guard, Barnes and Odum at forward, Ratliff at center. Three veterens who don't know the system and two headcases. I like all the players but I wonder how they mesh. What do you think?

Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff are nothing but cheap imitations of what Jerry Buss should have done. Nothing but cheap bench fillers. Buss was only interested in reducing payroll. Not Mitch Kupchaks fault.
Now the starters, namely Pao Gasol , will have to bust their balls even harder to repeat last seasons success.
Do not jump on the Lakers Bandwagon and give all this Fanboy Rah Rah Rah to Gloss over this seasons Free Agency as if it was brilliant. It wasnt!

you want Shannon brown? waive/buyout remainder of LUke's contract. use the money to sign shannon. is that legal/can that work?

Mamba24....You know what I like about you? You make every one of us bloggers feel important!! Bet you didn't know that did ya?

@ Mamba24 = hello sir, yeah ive been missin you man, you are one of my best friends on here, cant go on this blog without you, although we do have the regulars who are always good friends to me, its just not the same without you man, and everyone knows it. but im glad your back, so we can disect this Lakers bench and see what we can come up with... all and all today was a good day lol

Mamba24....You know what I like about you? You make every one of us bloggers feel important!! Bet you didn't know that did ya? Posted by: NewMexicoLakerLifer | July 23, 2010 at 10:17 AM
*
I sure didn't! And I bet you don't know that right now I'm getting a lil teary eyed. I thank you NMLakerLifer. I happened to have actually needed that at just this time. Thank you Mam!
Mamba24

FARMAR IS A GOOD PLAYER WHO IN MY OPINION LACKS DISCIPLINE. HE REMINDS ME OF THAT YOUNG MAN KEYON DOOLING, WHO HAS SO MUCH POTENTIAL, BUT LACK DISCIPLINE. THEY ARE BOTH YOUNG AND HOPEFULLY THEY CAN GAIN THE PROPER AMOUNT OF DISCIPLINE TO BECOM E THE BEST THEY COULD BE. PSALMS 40

@ MM - do you think we can have a chat today? since we got 2 new players i suggest we disect them during a chat and see what we can come up with lol what do you say sir???

chat anyone?

Oh yeahhhh. You know what I'm looking forward to?...that first game against the Denver Thuggets. Let's see them have try to do the smack talk with Kobe, Ron-Ron, and Barnes in there. Good luck, chumps! Hey, we can even match up with you now on the body tats, suckas.

Ditto Portland. Double ditto the Ceptics. Man, I can't wait for this to start.

Hey, LEWSTERS (since you're the ace researcher here now), has any NBA team ever shut out another NBA team? We need to check this out...STAT!

With a few moves LA's done everything I could have hoped it would do given 1) the summer of the Threeat; 2) the limited funding available, and 3) the needs from the bench.

I'd said last month LA needed a reliable, longer-term answer at PG and a backup C. They got both with Blake and Ratliff. Now, for one season, at least, Ratliff can relieve Gasol from defending more physical 5's when Bynum goes down or is in foul trouble. He'll be counted on to Board which will help LO as well. Blake fits the triangle mode more than Farmar (who may enjoy more success outside the triangle) and can eventually start to save Fish's legs.

Signing Barnes is only icing on the cake. He does all the little things, defends well, and gives LA some toughness and experience it's lacked off the bench the last two years.

LA's been to 3 Finals and won 2 titles in 24 months without 1) a healthy center; and 2) consistent bench support. It will get bench help next year. And if Bynum's healthy, no team -- no team -- should stand a chance. And if the rookies give them *anything*, this will be the best summer the FO's had in a while, no mean feat.

Great offseason moves, Lakers.

Defense, size, toughness, and Phil.

That's the formula for success. This team is built to win play-off games where youth and athleticism don't matter when the refs "let them play" which means "let them foul." Remember Game 7. Not a high scoring game. That's how you win championships. I loved Showtime, but ever since the league decided they didn't, this is the way to win. Blake, Matt, and Theo are great additions. This is perfect veteran, deep team that Phil will coach to another championship, barring crucial injuries. Nice job, Mitch.

"Even after counting Sasha and Bynum, the average age of Lakers' roster so far this year comes to 30.5.....

Not sure why, but that kinda gives me some concern..


Banks and Caracter are 20 and 22 respectively. Their signing would provide us some much-needed youth!! :)
Posted by: Ruud Van Nistelrooy | July 22, 2010 at 11:34 PM"

The Lakers are on a 4 year plan....they currently aren't looking at what's going to happen 6-8 years from now. Currently, all focus is win while we have Kobe Bryant playing at his peak.

This is Phil's last year, the rookies may not even get onto the floor. Phil wants to go out with a BANG!!!! He wants to go out dominating. So look for less of those 20 point leads to creep back t 6 point wins. Phil wants to make a statement. Now he has the team, as long as they stay healthy, the core of the team knows the system, the new players are all traveled veterans, not counting the rookies, who are just going to be scrimmage players. I think this will be a 67 win season, at least.

"...and if we lose in the finals how do we rebuild with 30 yr olds? I hope Mitch knows what he's doing

Posted by: Stevie | July 23, 2010 at 07:09 AM"

He does. Yes the team could lose in the finals, but that's the possibilty when you play.

A new nickname for the Lakers 2010-2011....."The Thirtysomething's"

I think if the Lakers win a third in a row, Phil comes back for a fourth.

I think if the Lakers win a third in a row, Phil comes back for a fourth.

Posted by: Bob | July 23, 2010 at 11:40 AM

I agree! I don't think Phil has ever won four in a row... Has He???? If not, it would be mighty tempting. PHIL FOR FOUR!

>>>the Los Angeles Turtles?


Imagine me and you... I don't.

Other then Odum, who scores for the second unit? Where's the explosive guy off the bench? I like all the pieces but who is going to ignite the team or the crowd? Even the new 2nd rounders are rookie versions of the existing veterans. I'm no big fan of Shamwow but I think he brought a unique (for the Lakers) dynamic off the pine.

>>>.I am curiuos to see who will be the 12th player to start the season. Caracter or
>>>Ebanks??

I'd lay odds on Caracter. Assuming Luke's healthy enough to be in uniform, that gives them Artest, Barnes, Walton at SF and Kobe can play some at that spot too.

Caracter would be the 3rd PF, behind Pau and Lamar.

humanomaly,

"...and if we lose in the finals how do we rebuild with 30 yr olds? "

Silly. You don't rebuild if you lose in the finals.

You rebuild if you lose in the first round a couple of years in a row.

If you lose in the finals, then you re-tool, but you don't rebuild.

Nick...the bench never comes in 5 at at a time they always leave in a couple studs. The second unit only plays together in a blow out so add in Blake, Odom Sasha, Barnes...etc to give starters a blow and keep the continuity flowing in the triangle should not be a problem. The problem will be for the OPPONENT to score!

Love the fact that Barnes chose the Lakers not the Dollars. That shows desire to win. He will add energy, hustle, get loose balls, rebounds, piss off the opponent...all the intangibles. Never hurts to have some guys like that on the team.

Guys we'll have a chat on Monday. I just have lots to do today with all the interviews and what not.

MM

You guys ever wonder about Kobe recruiting guys that are tough on him because he respects their competitive spirit...or maybe he's just tired of them guarding him and would rather have them on his side...;~) Good either way right?

hawaii D, thanks man, your right about how the reserves come in. What do you think, does this roster have enough team speed? Does it matter with the triangle? I think the D is amazing, but if the Lakers trail by 10 in the 4th, is it still all Kobe or Fish?

3-peat is coming...

L.A. needs someone like him when push comes to shove.

 
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