According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Clippers are reportedly close to signing free-agent Matt Barnes by the end of the week. Barnes spent his last two seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, averaging 7.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in 63 games last season. This will be the nine-year NBA veteran’s second stint with the Clippers.
He was drafted and then traded by the Memphis Grizzlies to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2002 NBA draft, out of UCLA. After being waived by Cleveland before the 2002 season, he was drafted by the Fayetteville Patriots in the 2002 D-League draft. In 2003, he was signed and then waived again, this time by the Seattle Supersonics before the 2003 season, still yet to make his NBA début. Finally, on January 18th of 2004 Barnes was signed as a free agent by the Clippers, playing in 38 games during the 2003-2004 NBA season. So after eight years and seven different NBA teams, Barnes is reportedly returning to the team that he started his career with.
The Clippers would be getting a 32-year-old Barnes, who can still bring a lot to a team off of the bench. He’s a high energy wing player that plays solid in-your-face type defense, has made a great habit of slashing towards the basket, and can knock down some three-point shots in the corner. Barnes has also made a habit of complaining to the referees after every single call, which is always entertaining to watch.
The ideal factor that will make this move so pivotal for the Clippers is starting point guard Chris Paul. Paul is looked upon by many as the league’s best point guard. He can spread the floor, has unbelievable vision of the court, and is a superior passer and scorer. The passing ability and vision that Paul brings to the table will be able to spread the floor, giving Barnes plenty of opportunities for open three-pointers and also some open lay-ups when slashing to the basket. This will be the complete opposite of his last season with the Lakers. Barnes had Steve Blake and the Lakers “savior” Ramon Sessions at point guard trying to pass him the ball, while playing in an offense that would probably have trouble spreading peanut butter on a sandwich.
This move will make the Clippers bench even deeper and adds to an already impressive off-season, with the Clippers adding veterans like Lamar Odom, Grant Hill, Jamal Crawford, Ronny Turiaf, and Ryan Hollins. It will be up to Barnes to knock down the open shots and play with high energy off of the bench, if he wants to have a big role with the Clippers during the 2012-2013 season.
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