Clippers Rumors: Matt Barnes Reportedly Leaning Towards Joining L.A.

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIISeptember 12, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 08:  Matt Barnes #9 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after making a shot in the third quarter against the Denver Nuggets in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 8, 2012 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Update: Friday, Sept. 14 at 4:55 p.m. ET

Veteran swingman Matt Barnes, one of the most valuable remaining free agents of his kind, will be returning to the City of Angels. It will just be with the city's other NBA squad.

According to a press release on the Los Angeles Clippers' official website, Barnes inked a deal with the club, although the terms of the deal were not yet announced, per team policy.

The Clippers hope Barnes will provide a spark off the bench, especially in guarding athletic wing players and bigger 2-guards. Barnes will provide the best combination of length and defensive aptitude on the perimeter.

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Update: Thursday, Sept. 13 at 10:55 a.m. ET

Amick has provided an update on his original story, now reporting that Barnes has told the Clippers he will sign with the team. He doesn't give a timetable for the deal getting finalized, though.

Source says Matt Barnes has informed the Clippers he will sign with them. Story from yesterday - bit.ly/UOpTiS

— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) September 13, 2012

Barnes averaged eight points and six rebounds for the rival Lakers last season. He will provide the Clippers with another piece to the puzzle as they attempt to solidify their spot as a contender in the Western Conference.

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The addition of Barnes would deepen a Clippers bench that already includes offseason acquisitions Grant Hill, Jamal Crawford and Lamar Odom, among others.

 

Barnes has been a career journeyman, playing for eight different teams throughout his nine years in the league. If he is indeed returning to L.A., it is a homecoming of sorts, as he made his NBA debut with the Clips back in 2004.

More energy is needed from the Clippers' second unit and Barnes is the perfect player to provide just that as he returns to the team that fostered the beginning of his career. Although the Clippers ranked a respectable 13th in the NBA last season in points allowed per game, Barnes also provides an upgrade to the club's perimeter defense.

Also mentioned in Amick's report is the prominent role that superstar point guard Chris Paul has played in the offseason decision-making by the Clippers' front office.

Ironically, Paul was nearly traded to the Lakers, the team Barnes has played for during the past two seasons.

It now looks like Paul will pull another commodity away from the other team that calls the Staples Center home if the Clippers acquire Barnes.