NBA Free Agency 2010: Top Destinations for Matt Barnes
Matt Barnes has been playing alongside four All-Stars with the Orlando Magic. The scrappy small forward Barnes was the team's vocal leader and is now an unrestricted free agent testing the waters.
Unlike LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh,Barnes is not the talk of the NBA. Rather this seven-year veteran out of UCLA is flying under the free-agency radar.
Barnes opted out of his contract— earning $1.6 million this season Barnes has a player option worth the same amount for next season.
The question becomes, will the 30-year-old remain in the hunt for an NBA Championship?
Here are five places Barnes is most likely to end up.
What Matt Barnes Offers
Born: Mar 9, 1980
Weight: 226 lbs.
Years Pro: 7
After winning the starting small forward job, Matt Barnes averaged 8.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game for the Orlando Magic this past season.
The journeyman outperformed his contract.
The Barnes Report:
High field-goal percentage
At times has an attitude
No. 1 Orlando Magic
When Matt Barnes replaced Mickael Pietrus as the team’s starting small forward early in the season, positive results were not immediate.
Despite suffering the worst shooting slump of his NBA career early on, Barnes managed to finish with a career high in field-goal percentage (49%).
Although he complained on occasion about playing time, Barnes has said he and his fiancee would like to raise their kids in Orlando.
It would be nice to see him play alongside Vince Carter, Dwight Howard, and Jameer Nelson again for the Magic.
No. 2 Detroit Pistons
As soon as the free-agency period began, the Detroit Pistons expressed interest in both Matt Barnes and Brendan Haywood.
Detroit has already made offers to their own free agents in Ben Wallace and Will Bynum, both of whom are likely to return.
In Barnes, it's another aging player for an already veteran team.
It will be difficult for the Pistons to sign Barnes, who after banking 1.6 last season will be looking for a hefty raise.
No. 3 Los Angeles Lakers
A veteran like Matt Barnes doesn't want to head to a team that is rebuilding.
Then what better team for him to sign with than the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers?
Barnes has expressed interest in the Lakers, who could use small forward help with the inconsistent play of Ron Artest.
Los Angeles took two unsigned draft picks—Derrick Caracter and Kevin Ebanks— and could use Barnes in a mentor type position.
And injury problems have plagued other forwards like Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol.
There's always a need for some depth.
No. 4 San Antonio Spurs
In San Antonio, Matt Barnes would be a quality role player with go-to guys like Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, and Tony Parker.
During last week's draft, the Spurs took a 19-year-old British forward, Ryan Richards, with the 49th pick.
But he's nowhere near NBA-ready.
On a team with a ton of guards— Parker, Ginobili, Roger Mason, Jr.— forward help from Barnes could go a long way.
Richard Jefferson is cemented in a forward/guard role, and reports have said the 2007 draft pick Tiago Splitter will make his debut after playing in Europe.
Over the last decade, San Antonio has won three titles and is a constant contender in the playoffs.
It's just the type of situation for a guy like Barnes.
No. 5 Phoenix Suns
As each day passes, it seems like the Phoenix Suns will lose Amar'e Stoudemire to free agency.
Although Matt Barnes already played with the Suns in 2008, a return to the quick-paced offense could only work wonders with Barnes' new shooting touch.
He would also add defensive help to a team that allowed more than 102 points a game in the playoffs.
With Grant Hill (37 years old) and Dwayne Collins (22 years old) on the roster, Barnes could serve as the perfect middle ground at forward.