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Matt Barnes still 'talking' to Lakers despite recent arrest

By Ben Golliver | Blogger
Matt Barnes says he is still in talks with the Lakers. (Getty Images)

It's hard to say goodbye to a superteam.

Unrestricted free agent forward Matt Barnes, who spent the last two seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, says that he continues to talk about re-signing with the team despite a July arrest.

"I'm actually a free agent right now," Barnes said in a TMZ.com video interview. "So [the Lakers] are one of the teams we are talking to. There are a couple of other teams. Hopefully we'll get this arrest situation out of the way so I can go ahead and move forward with my career."

Barnes was arrested by Manhattan Beach back in July for a traffic violation and for resisting arrest.

Even before the arrest, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Lakers "aren't expected" to re-sign Barnes after the team signed 23-year-old forward Devin Ebanks to a one-year contract back in July.

Barnes, 32, averaged 7.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 22.9 minutes per game last season. He actually played the fifth most minutes for the Lakers last season but the team's flurry of summer moves hasn't helped his rotation standing. As of now, the Lakers go at least two deep at every position: point guard (Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Chris Duhon), off guard (Kobe Bryant, Jodie Meeks), small forward (Ron Artest, Devin Ebanks), power forward (Pau Gasol, Antawn Jamison) and center (Dwight Howard, Jordan Hill).

"I think it's big," Barnes said of the 4-team blockbuster trade that landed Howard on the Lakers in exchange for Andrew Bynum. "I think Dwight's going to help, Steve is going to help, Jamison is going to help."

The question facing the Lakers is whether Barnes' volatile personality isn't worth the trouble in a locker room that will face all sorts of new chemistry questions. Howard must be worked into the pecking order. Bryant must get used to playing with a point guard who has the ball in his hands. Coach Mike Brown must incorporate two new starters and multiple new assistant coaches.

Best known for picking fights and talking trash on the court, Barnes has a long list of incidents to his name. He was suspended from a California pro-am league during the lockout for allegedly punching an opponent. During the 2010-11 season, Barnes threw a Dallas Mavericks assistant coach to the ground during an in-game skirmish and he shoved Los Angeles Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin to the ground early in the 2011-12 season, earning a flagrant foul. He was also arrested on a domestic violence charge back in September 2010 but was not charged in the incident.

A 9-year NBA veteran, Barnes' career has included stops with the Clippers, Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic and the Lakers.

The smart money continues to say that his career merry-go-round goes for another spin in 2012-13.

Hat tip: IAmAGM.com

 
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