Lakers Now

Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

« Previous Post | Lakers Now Home | Next Post »

Matt Barnes' slapping incident with assistant coach shouldn't be a cause for concern with the Lakers


Some may see this as a warning sign of things to come. I see it as something that no one will even remember once the 2010-2011 season ends.

Lakers forward Matt Barnes demonstrated in a summer league last week how his fiery intensity sometimes channels the wrong way, in this case slapping an opposing team's assistant coach during a game in the Bay Area Pro-Am Summer Basketball League. Rasheed Malek of provided the following account to Sports by Brooks: "Barnes engaged the referee into conversation directly in front of the opposing team's Head Coach and Assistant Coach. While talking to the referee, Barnes begins to get heckled by SF City assistant head coach, Rick Lewis. Lewis was saying things like "stop your crying, you're in the NBA, stop crying" and other remarks which were an attempt to antagonize and get under Barnes' skin.

"Barnes finally stepped towards Lewis and got in his face and they exchanged pleasantries, Barnes walked away but Lewis was still chirping so Barnes came back and got in his face at which point Barnes gave Lewis a slap on the face.

Now, it was more of a "love tap" than anything malicious; he didn't wind up or put any force behind it. As soon as it happened, the referees came over, Barnes' coaching staff ran over and the situation kind of fizzled itself out."

Ever since the Lakers acquired Barnes this offseason, there's been somewhat of a split on what to make of it. Some are giddy over the fact that Barnes will no longer pretend to be throwing inbounds passes at Kobe Bryant, but instead will bring that same intensity to the opposition. Some worry that fiery play won't always be channeled the right way, such as the summer league incident with the opposing team's assistant coach.

Barnes' effort in controlling his emotions may not turn out as perfectly as hoped next season, but it's nothing the Lakers can't control. The reason: Phil Jackson coaches a team that consists of talented and veteran players. You only need to look at two case studies to understand how Jackson's veteran teams are equipped to handle players with checkered pasts.

After proving to be a distraction in San Antonio, Dennis Rodman still carried his dyed-hair antics to Chicago from 1995 to 1998. He kicked a cameraman in the groin. He head-butted a referee. And he had a high-profile romance with Madonna. While Jackson and the Bulls downplayed those incidents, Rodman felt respected and, in return, excelled in rebounding, loose balls and boosting the team's energy. The Lakers in 1999 thought they could also benefit from Rodman's presence, but that team simply didn't have the veteran leadership to handle such a strong personality as well as Jackson, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen managed.

Since that time, Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher have accumulated five championships while Jackson just collected his 11th title. The last championship was made possible because of Ron Artest's Game 7 heroics, but that process took a season for Artest to fully benefit the team. Some of Artest's antics this season are much tamer than Rodman's, but they include a Christmas night concussion, his claim to Sporting News that he drank before games when he played for Chicago (1999-2001) and his criticisms of Jackson via Twitter for questioning his shot selection. But each incident became very forgettable simply because the Lakers didn't make a big deal of it and didn't allow it to become a distraction.

Artest deserves credit for maturing and improving his public image since the "Malice at the Palace," but the Lakers deserve credit for nurturing his growth. The Lakers universally praised his work ethic and appreciated his effort in getting acclimated with the team, with Artest always complimenting his teammates, calling Jackson his best coach and constantly wanting to improve his defensive intensity and understanding of the triangle offense. Though Artest went through growing pains in becoming fully comfortable, his effort proved genuine partly because of the support system that surrounded him.

The same thing will happen with Barnes. There may be games where he draws a technical foul, becomes too chippy with an opposing team's player or allows his frustration to distract his focus. But the Lakers will quickly rein him in, both with positive reinforcement and accountability. And because of the talent and experience around him, Barnes will improve in channeling that aggression the right way.

It seems Barnes already understands that.

"Some people do too much or talk too much, and there's only so much you can take," Barnes recently told AOL Fanhouse's Sam Amick. "It's hard. It's definitely hard when the refs have it out for you, saying 'Oh, you're in the NBA, so you don't get this (call) and we're going to call this.' Then the coach is talking and completely disrespecting me. "It's frustrating, but at the same time I've got to keep my composure because I'm a professional and I get paid to do this. I lost my professionalism for a little while, but I regained my composure and we won a championship tonight."

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers forward Matt Barnes reportedly slapped an opposing team's assistant coach last week during a summer league game. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press.

Comments () | Archives (59)

The comments to this entry are closed.

I guess LeBronze got tired of playing vs players who are actually as good as him (or better):

MM - that is EXACTLY what I was going to say about Barnes. I can't believe you jacked my comment like that.

MM - that is EXACTLY what I was going to say about Barnes. I can't believe you jacked my comment like that.
Posted by: justanothermambafan | August 17, 2010 at 10:49 AM

Oh, now THAT is Funny! ROFL!

JohnnyV - I keep telling everyone that I'm funny, dammit.

Maybe now I'll get some respect.


Okay justa, I'll own up to my mistake. I secretly went through a post you were about to save and copy and pasted it. I just thought it was too good! LOL


Since we're getting upset about people jacking part of our names, I have an injustice I'd like to find a tonic for too.

How come they can abuse us like this JustaLaker?

Someone asked me if I can sew the other day, and I almost died. What? Wes sew? Don't they realize that my name is sew backwards and thogh people heve been sewing clothes of beenies or booties or whatever for centuries, I've never seen a cent. Not one penny has come my way.

Then I was watching Will Smith in "The Wild, Wild West," I realized they did it again. They used my name with no regard to me. Speaking of west and the cardinal directions and where the sun sets and what not, I noticed that when I look at a map, I see my name backwards, too! No way!

N.S.E.W looks a lot like Wes N backwards to me.

And yet, no royalties for me? Is there no justice? JustaLakerFan, we've been robbed!


Wes - I see you've been doing the vodka percoset martinis that I've recommended. Good for you!

Barnes = Foxy

Justa what we needed; a fiery defender/foul machine to get opposing wings flustered. Foxy played that role to a "T", sometimes literally. Rick wasn't exactly a world class defender, however, he did manage to irritate some players (and fans). By getting all up in their grills, they would in turn lose focus on Kobe, thus rendering their defense efforts on him powerless and futile. Matt will be fine, y'all.

DBDH! (TM) No name jacking, please.

"nurturing his growth"
That's what we need to do regarding Barnes.
Same way we did w/ Artest.
It's gonna be allright.

I Justa wanna say, let's put all this ill will behind us and move on. We are all Laker Lovers and we have the love of our Lakers to bind us.

Why is LeBron so crazy?

People, I am not a natural born LeBron hater. Not at all. I liked LeBron as a person for a long time even as Laker fans around the world had no time for him. This lack of respect that I have for him is totally new, but not undeserved.

It's like every step he takes he overturns a rock and part of his personality scuttles out. So now he's dunking on kids when he wouldn't allow himself to be dunked on by a kid.



It's justa ridiculous around here today. Sheesh. Can't we all justa get along? We're all justa Laker fans right? Justa move on. Justa get over it. I justa want a little peace and quiet. Is that justa too much to ask? Justa pass me a vodka percoset martini please. I justa need to get my drink on and I should be justa fine....

There's nothing to worry about with Matt Barnes people. Compared to Ron Artest, this guy's a sissy...and we all know how Ron Ron turned out. The only people with worries are the players he'll defend/cuss out/intimidate during the season, and that's a'ok with us.

wes - I never liked the princess. And now I just hate her. You're right about the stuff scuttling out from under rocks. This last thing with those kids is insane - he really could have hurt that little boy. What a maroon. Yup - her pinata is definitely empty. The hamster is off the wheel. Her elevator doesn't go all the way to the top. The lights are on but nobody's home. She's not playing with a full deck. She's a few fries short of a happy meal.

Ad nauseum....

Championship teams have a blend of players with different skill sets, personalities, and talents. Barnes is a needed ingredient in our pursuit of a threepeat. He'll be justanotherpiece to the Lakers succesful season, and the Lakers will finish the season with justanotherchampionship.

Speaking of hamsters and their wheel fun, my old hamster Chubby used to love peeing in his wheel and then running in it, so his entire body was covered from head to toe with hamster urine (And yes, this reminds me of prom night).



I'm happy to share everything and anything with Laker Lass. But I do wish to bring to your attention the true origin of the RCOTD.

(01) RICK FRIEDMAN - OWNER - Forget having Ron do a live chat. Let's see how much it costs to have him host a blog party. Bandwagon, anyone?

I mean, hey, since infighting seems to be the order of the day, it wouldn't be right if I rolled over and failed to protect my turf. Let's compromise. Give Laker Lass the award, but credit must go where credit is due. Ah, the dog days of summer, where we lack anything really significant to squabble over. I'll take "the petty comment of the day," since that's what this is.

When I first heard about the Barnes thing, I never worried because it was a slap... sort of a pre-meditated demeaning thing, not a punch (which would have disturbed me). I didn't think it was the smartest thing, but it was more of a "you are a little wuss" putting the assistant coach in his place kind of thing rather than a brawl. Again, could you imagine Barnes doing that to Lebron? "There, there little princess...." Lebron would go ballistic.

Rick were robbed in plain daylight. What is this blog coming to.


Justanotherday in the crazy world of Lakers' blogging.


Judging from your response to justlakerfan you come across as a very biased reporter. I am not too thrilled by your antics as a LA times writer when you chose to warn posters like justalakerfan and not say anything to mamba24 whose post below is very personal and full of foul language. Is this a double standard on your part? Are you biased?

take a read below and see what you think:

I doubt it! Is that enough whim for you Richard Cranium? Come on out and play or will momma not let you out of the house yet? Respond to @zz Pussy cat. Posted by: Mamba24 | August 15, 2010 at 11:29 AM
Boy you are sicker than I thought. This name fixation thing of yours whats wrong? Not happy being you. And who the Frak is Richard Cranium? Did you 2 have an arguement? Boy you need serious help if you think a freakin Name or that other silly ISH you said is suppose to represnt something. I know who the Frak I am silly lil Biatch @zz MF! But it's aparent your lil punk bad@zz wanna be don't have no idea who the Frak you are. I'm done responding not because of your silly ISH, but because all these hits show up as Mamba24.
[couldn’t resist could you punk. Hypoccrite what about your fixation on Mamba24 name. Bothers you? MoFo I see you lack a brain and need STOP spelled out for you. I ‘ll type slowly so you can keep up. Who is Richard Cranium? That would be you. I’ll type real slow this time, Ricard=Dick, and Cranium =Head. Can you figure it out now?
Posted by: mAMAB24 | August 15, 2010 at 11:42 AM
Posted by: JustaLakerFan | August 17, 2010 at 12:43 AM

Rick - Oh I am sorry for slighting you. Then again, people can't say the RCOTD is the Rick Friedman comment of the day anymore can they?

Guys seriously let's stop fighting. Your team won the title this past season. Shouldn't you be happy?


People adjust to their surroundings, as I see in my classroom every day. Twisted kids fit in, quiet kids speak up, etc.
Barns will be fine, is fine.
The LJ clip was fun. Those kids will remember it for a long time. I loved where he kept feeding that girl near the basket.
When dies the season start?

Mamba24 - I have reviewed your responses to justalakerfan as well and you can't engage in that sort of behavior. That is a warning as well. If you read something that is deemed offensive, please DO NOT RESPOND. I will delete any irresponsible comments in due time so there is no need to respond and fuel it even more. That is also a grounds for a ban


Laker J - first of all I have NEVER name jacked. As a matter of fact, I dont' think I've ever jacked anything. Ever. Justa to set the record straight. Second of all - well... no.. that was it... LOL!!

MM - you said "YOUR team won the title". WHAT THE HELL???? Isn't it YOUR team too??? I mean - this is the LA Times LAKERS blog isn't it? And aren't YOU the LA Times LAKERS blog GOD??? So - isn't it YOUR team too??? Come on man. Quit providing me with material.

MM - I was gonna add "This is justa too easy", but apparently I'm justa too quick on the trigger finger to post!

I wrote a post for my blog regarding the 1992 Dream Team and a 2010 Dream Team that I created. Here is the direct link to my post:
Feel free to comment and voice your own bias!

Bharath - You've done this before on other threads. We blog here. If you want to join us and get our comments, you should post them here instead of trying to jack the blog over to your blog. Just sayin... We've kinda had enough of jacking today. (oops - I guess I should add justa speaking for myself here....)

lakerfan - I had already deleted Mamba24's comments to justalakersfan as well and I issued him a warning as well. I don't want this to be a contentious area. Everyone needs to stop getting so petty and keep it civil


Justa, ooops, I mean JAMF, in the world of blogging you are guilty until proven innocent. You have been accused and that's enough to start WWIII around here, lol. Try to keep a low profile. Justadvise from a fellow blogger and Laker fan. Way too much fun!

MM - welcome to the dog days of summer. Before you know it the season will be starting and we'll be getting petty about Luke and his contract! I'm justa sayin...

justa - As far as I know, Mitch Kupchak didn't sign me this offseason so I'm not a part of the team.


I think we will witness many occasions when Artest tries to calm down Barnes and vice versa...and Fans as well as the Lakers players will be laughing at and have fun with them. It will make two of kinds... It will be all fun.

Who do you think will get more technicals this season? Artest or Barnes?

I have a question for you Lakers fans:

If the Heat fail to win the championship (which is highly likely), can the NBA go back and give Phil Jackson his well deserved Coach of the Year trophies for all those other years? They always said that he won because he had MJ/Pippen or Shaq/Kobe, I have never believed this theory but I am not a voter. If the Heat don't win, then they can't claim that theory to be correct. Even if the Heat do win the title, their coach shouldn't be given the COY because Phil has won it only once. Unless they win 73 games, since the only time Phil won it was when he won 72.


>>> Your team won the title this past season. Shouldn't you be happy?

I'm already anxious about next season. Like, will my kids get me tickets to the Celtics game at the end of January for my birthday? We blog. We're tortured souls. Happy? Hah!

Who do you think will get more technicals this season? Artest or Barnes?

Posted by: LakerPeace | August 17, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Without question they're both going to get more technicals. WTH?? I gotta get out of here.

Rick, sorry to jack your RCOTD. (MM, since our plot was uncovered can I get my money back?)


Did I justa miss all the fun?

LOL, sorry I had to do it...

When I joined this AWESOME blog community, justanothermambafan was the ONLY "justa" here. Now I'm not saying that the other "Justa" wasn't here first, but he wasn't around when I began, so I'm used to calling "jamf" "justa".

And I will continue to do so. From here on out, anytime you see me reference "justa", know that it's for my fav justanothermambafan. And if you don't like it... well, that's justa too bad for you.

So Mr. Justa, stop being a baby about it . Get over it already.

Or don't. I could care less.

Rick Friedman - Hah perhaps I was giving you guys too much credit on your state of well being


Who do you think will get more technicals this season? Artest or Barnes?
Posted by: LakerPeace | August 17, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Great post Laker Peace! MM, you should consider jacking this idea for a thread. Seriously, we could have some fun with that.

There's weird mojo going on today.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


Jon K,

It's not justamojo, it's serious poop.

Laker Lass,

>>> (MM, since our plot was uncovered can I get my money back?)

I've never gotten my money back on days the award went to pHRED. I wouldn't get my hopes up.

Someone pooped in the blog?
Anyone got a poop sccoper?

Ah, more dirt on my favorite topic, the King of No Rings. LeScuz is profiled in the new issue of GQ by J.R. Moehringer.

As reviewed on NBC Sports PBT, "Moehringer said that in the room in Connecticut, where LeBron was to televise his decision, everyone had a sense of foreboding and that this was a bad idea -- everyone except LeBron and his people. They didn't get it."

What would LeBron change if he had it to do over? "Nothing at all," he said.

The profile also presents LeBron talking about himself in the third person, and quotes him saying he can imagine himself returning to the Cavaliers some day.

On a day this blog ponders the question whether Matt Barnes is a head case, the NBA's got 99 problems but Barnes ain't one. Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh are about to discover how good life was before they saddled themselves with an absolute basketcase of a human being as a teammate.

MM - Thanks for detailing Barnes latest flair up. (Okay I couldn't resist since Lamar called him Ric Flair.) Anyway I agree that Barnes won't have have any major issues this season because of the strong personalities on the Lakers.

But here's where I disagree. I think Barnes has a greater propensity to self destruct that Ron Ron. When the Lakers got Artest I was not worried about him imploding because he hadn't had any real problems sincy Indy. However, I am more concerned about Barnes.

Check out their numbers from the last 4 seasons
Barnes 30techs/9flagrants/3ejections -
Artest 19techs/0flagrants/1ejections

Keep in mind that Artest played more minutes than Barnes which makes that differential even bigger. Over this time Barnes has proved to be a more borderline dirty player. My biggest concern with him is that his antics will turn the refs against the Lakers. We already have Kobe whining and being a league leader in techs. We def don't need a role player to also create tension with the zebras.

BTW...I believe Barnes 9 flagrants in last 4yrs is tied for most in the entire league with Jamaal McGloire. Even Kenyon Martin only has 7 flagrants in same time.

Who do you think will get more technicals this season? Artest or Barnes?
Posted by: LakerPeace | August 17, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Good question. But maybe a better one is who'll get banned first - me or the other justa? LOL!!

BTW - thanks HalosAnt. You always were my fav halo.


Interesting stats on Barnes. I'm not quite convinced he is 'home free' yet either.
I hope the team keeps him in line, am taking a wait and see approach.

Andy Kamenetzky, in his post at ESPN LA also has a few concerns.

He wrote:

"Still, there are concerns, as I first mentioned when Barnes and the Lakers agreed to terms. Barnes says he's fine with whatever minutes are thrown his way, and while he seems sincere, that's also easier to claim before the games have commenced. I don't anticipate Barnes playing close to the 26 mpg he logged with Orlando last season, and he's been vocal in the past about wanting to be on the floor. Granted, he willingly signed up knowing Ron-Ron ain't getting bumped, and a shot at a ring is a nice trade off for a few extra minutes on the bench. But I'll be keeping my eye on his mood as the season progresses.

Speaking of mood, Barnes' reputation as an edgy, temperamental player has been well-documented and well deserved. The dustup and ball fake heard 'round the world in Orlando. The 10 technical fouls in 2010, plus another 10 in 2009. (The Lakers have enough guys jawing at the refs as it is.) Intensity swings both ways. It can be an asset or hindrance, and the former Bruin needs to make sure his emotions don't carry negative results.

Worst Case Scenario
Barnes catches the team-wide epidemic of "three ball fever," reminding fans Barnes' occasional description as a deep threat is mostly due to his 2007 campaign with the Warriors. Frustration over what feels like a limited role bleeds onto the hardwood. It becomes evident why Barnes is now playing for his eighth team in eight seasons."

Guys we got a new post up. I hope you guys like this idea


My people. The blog is being flagged for unnecessary drama today. So I suggest you cue up the song...and take its advice.

I'm kinda swinging back and forth on Barnes. On the one hand, he really seems incredibly sincere when he says he's happy to be a Laker. That it's a dream come true for him. And given the professionalism and veteran leadership of this team, I think he can learn to play using his "crazy" to our advantage. OTOH - he may just be nuts and untameable, and no amount of PJ, Kobe or RonRon in his ear will be able to channel his energy to make a positive impact for the team in a game or series. I'm hoping for door number one.

Very happy to have Barnes.

Almost at the untimely end of the first great magic dynasty, when the pistons stood in our way with this menacing "bad boy" style, I secretly wished that one day we would rise again and dominate the NBA with the same style of a team.

For decades we heard about how "soft" the Lakers were. How "west coast" our team's play was and it would wilt under the tough pressure of east coast game.
Even many championships later, the close-line still gets more press than the baby sky-hook. The debacle in 2008 more press than the redemption in 2010.

Well, after many years of secretly wishing for it, thanks to Heir Mitch, we have in this 2011 edition of the Los Angeles Lakers the meanest, toughest, in your face defense, fight for every rebound, every loose ball, some would (gasp) call dirtiest team in the league.

We asked for a team ready to take on the tremendous challenge of a 3peat and for our sins they gave us one.

Go Lakers! May your arrival on the floor send shudders down the spines of the day's opponent.

Barnes' ability to blend in with the team without causing unnecessary distraction:

The one person I have seen that I would have thought unable to do this was Rodman. I mean look justa look at the man. He thrives on going against the flow. Some would say he even caused problems in Chicago (justa ask a certain cameraman). The thing is, it never really turned into a distraction with the team. Part of the reason for this is due to MJ and Pippen's leadership, but I believe the main reason is Phil Jackson. Phil's greatest strength is his ability to get a team to perform regardless of ego, distractions, etc. Phil masterfully uses the media to his benefit, whether that's to cajole his players, or get the team over a recent indiscretion.

All of this is to say, I think Barnes will be just fine as a Laker. Yes he may cause some problems, but Kobe and Phil will be able to keep the team going without a hitch.

He's the best I love this guy, he's a poorman's version of the 2003-2006 Ron Artest. Kobe will smack his head if he doesn't keep his game together though. That's the extent of it.

I say you have a "drink off" or "eat off" to settle any "name-jacking" issues, with the loser having to adjust...otherwise let it be. I envision a room full of barf either labrick really is very sensitive, and may commit suicide if the heat doesn't win title. I'm sure he believes he is doing wade and bosh the ultimate favor (he is marketing-wise), and will eventually try to rule the roost. I can see him looking for another out if the experiment doesn't quench his thirst for power and adulation. He really is obsessed with Kobe, and his personna, even though his lates gaffe has alot to do with Kobe only becoming mor popular than before...


Well said on all points. I don't know what this name-jacking situation might be about, nor do I care for name-jacking is a low form of copycatting. The jacker found guilty shall be stoned in the form of verbal-abuse for no less than a day in this, here blog, and future blog updates herein, with the accuser getting the backing of the participants.

On to"lebrick". I think we should protest capitalizing the "L" when talking about lebrick. That's giving him the power of his "L" in marketing we should strike that, and the gains he has out of his endorsements. I declare this decree to be put into action immediately.

"Some may see this as a warning sign of things to come. I see it as something that no one will even remember" to rethink that now that he has been arrested on domestic violence?



In Case You Missed It...


All Things Lakers »

Your database for all things purple and gold.

Find a Laker

Search a name

Select a season

Choose one of our lists



About the Bloggers

Bleacher Report | Lakers

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More Lakers on Bleacher Report »

Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists:

In Case You Missed It...