Amid all the empty threats of NBA players heading en masse overseas during the current lockout, Lakers forward Matt Barnes remained one of the lone exceptions in hope of fully rehabilitating his surgically repaired right knee.
But with the NBA missing at least the month of November because of the work stoppage, Barnes acknowledged in a phone interview Thursday that he might change his mind.
"If the lockout continues or there ever comes to a point where we know the season will be canceled, that would be something I would look at," said Barnes, who exercised his $1.91 million option to play for the Lakers in the 2011-2012 season. "I want to play basketball. I would love to play here first. But if I can't, I would play overseas."
Such talk, he said, has been only preliminary with his agent, Aaron Goodwin. For now, Barnes has kept himself busy enough this week for his cancer foundation sponsoring an exhibition game Saturday featuring the 2007 Golden State Warriors versus the current team Saturday at the San Jose State Events Center. Had Barnes enjoyed a healthy offseason, he said he "wouldn't have been one of the first guys to jump to play overseas." Instead, he'd still wait and see if the league salvages part of the season.
"I've scratched and clawed to stay in the NBA," said Barnes, who has played on nine teams in his eight-year career. "My goal has always been not to go overseas. Going overseas isn't a punishment. It's a chance to play. I'm still battling that in my head to make it OK. It's been a roller coaster for me to stick in this league. My goal from Day 1 was not to go overseas to play basketball because I know I'm good enough to play here. But now that basketball is not going on here, going overseas is an option if the lockout lingers."
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Photo: Lakers forward Matt Barnes blocks a shot by New Orleans power forward Carl Landry, though a blocking foul was called on Lakers forward Lamar Odom, during Game 3 of the Western Conference first-round playoff series. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / April 22, 2011