While a backup big man was a need for the Los Angeles Clippers, re-signing Matt Barnes was a wise move.
He was arguably the third-best player on the team last season but was paid the veteran’s minimum. It was one of the best contracts in the league. Now he gets paid $11 million over three years with the final year being non-guaranteed. He’s probably worth $7 million, but he took a home team discount because he wants to win, loves L.A., and it enables the team to pick up another quality player for the remainder of the mid-level exception.
Barnes was a great teammate because he did all the little things. He always played with energy, guarded the opponent’s best wing player, hustled after rebounds as if it was a life or death situation and knew how to make smart cuts to the basket without the ball to get open for an easy basket.
Plays are never called for him, yet he averaged 10.3 points on 46 percent shooting from the floor, while also averaging 4.6 rebounds, one steal and one block per game last season. His tenacity on both ends of the floor was part of the reason the Clippers’ second unit, nicknamed “A Tribe Called Bench”, ranks 10th compared to all starting lineups in the NBA and had the highest defensive rating, allowing only 83.2 points per 100 possessions.
The second unit actually extended rather than just maintain leads. Their effectiveness was a huge factor why the Clippers went on a 17-game winning streak during the month of December. Welcome back, Barnes. The Clippers are not the same without you.