Around the World (Wide Web): Ratliff and Barnes Become Lakers

Phillip Barnett —  July 23, 2010

May 24, 2010 - Boston, MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES - epa02171471 Orlando Magic forward Matt Barnes reacts during the second quarter of the Eastern Conference final round playoff game at the TD Bank Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 24 May 2010. The Celtics lead the best-of-seven series 3-0 and the winner will advance to play either the Los Angeles Lakers or the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals.

From Kevin Ding, Orange County Register: The Lakers continue to become a better team this offseason on the sheer basis of experience. Shot-blocking center Theo Ratliff, 37, signed a one-year deal for $1.35 million, the veterans’ minimum salary, on Thursday evening. He gives the Lakers a far more savvy and dependable big man to fill in for Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom than last season, when the Lakers didn’t get much at all from Josh Powell and DJ Mbenga.

From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: The Laker roster may be officially set, for all intents and purposes. On a busy Thursday, the team added two new bodies to the mix. The bigger name is small forward Matt Barnes, a Cali kid and UCLA product now making $3.6 mil over two seasons. The smaller (though, ironically, taller) player is veteran’s minimum-priced center Theo Ratliff, who first began blocking NBA shots in the late ’70s. (Okay, 1995.) Two veterans who appear pretty stoked at a shot to ride the O’Brien train. Barnes is the flashier signing, between his profile, flirtation with seemingly every team under the sun, and prematurely announced sign-and-trade to the Raptors. Of the two newbies, he is the one figuring to become a rotation mainstay.

From Eliot Teaford, Los Angeles Daily News: Forward/center Theo Ratliff signed a one-season deal with the Lakers today, giving the team a replacement for Josh Powell, who is about to sign with the Atlanta Hawks. The deal is for $1.3 million for the 15-year veteran who played last season with the San Antonio Spurs and the Charlotte Bobcats. The signing of Ratliff gives the Lakers 10 players under contract. It’s possible they could sign forwards Derrick Caracter and Devin Ebanks, a pair of second-round draft picks, and then add a low-budget guard to fill out the roster.

From Mark Medina, Los Angeles Times: The Lakers took another step toward rounding out their bench, agreeing to terms with 37-year-old center Theo Ratliff on Thursday. Ratliff, who signed a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum of $1.35 million, gives the Lakers an experienced defensive presence among their reserves. Next season will be the 16th for Ratliff, who began his career with Detroit in 1995, when Andrew Bynum was 8 years old.

From Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: It’s been an active day for Mitch Kupchak and his efforts to shore up the Lakers’ bench. First came news that Theo Ratliff signed a one-year deal to fill the role played by D.J. Mbenga last year. The 37-year-old Ratliff will make the veteran’s minimum of $1.37 million. A couple hours later, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Matt Barnes has agreed to join the Lakers on a two-year, $3.6 million deal. Barnes could’ve made almost twice that amount if he’d signed with the Cavaliers, but the man wanted to play for a contender and was willing to take a discount for that privilege.

From ESPN.com: Veteran swingman Matt Barnes, one of the most coveted free agents left on the open market, is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers. The seven-year veteran announced the move via his Twitter feed on Thursday, and the Lakers confirmed the deal. Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Barnes agreed to a two-year contract worth $3.6 million. “Its official I AM A LOS ANGLES LAKER. I wanna thank u for all ur patients and understanding. This is a dream come true!!! Good lookn Kobe,” Barnes posted on his Twitter feed.

From David Aldridge, NBA.com: The Los Angeles Lakers won the battle for one of the last fussed-over free agents on Thursday, agreeing to terms with Orlando Magic free agent forward Matt Barnes on a two-year, $3.6 million deal. Barnes turned down more money from the Cleveland Cavaliers, who had offered a multi-year deal worth more than $3 million annually. The Celtics and Heat also had pursued Barnes, who finally found a team after a proposed sign-and-trade deal with the Toronto Raptors fell apart earlier in the week.

From Elliot Teaford, Los Angeles Daily News: Matt Barnes signed tonight with the Lakers. The deal is for $1.77 million next season and then about $2 milion for 2011-12 at his option. He joins Theo Ratliff, who was signed earlier today, and Steve Blake, who put pen to paper, earlier this month. Those three represent a significant upgrade to the Lakers’ second unit, which got run off the court far too often last season. About all Mitch Kupchak needs to do now is sign second-round draft picks Derrick Caracter and Devin Ebanks to complete the Lakers’ 13-man roster.

From Ian Thompson, Sports Illustrated: The defending champs should be favored to repeat despite the sea change in Miami. Should Miami and L.A. meet in June, Kobe Bryant — the league’s best postseason player — and two-time champ Pau Gasol can expect to win their postseason matchups against Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, respectively, and Ron Artest can neutralize some of LeBron James’ strengths. That leaves center Andrew Bynum (if healthy, a yet unrealized if) to make the same kind of difference he made in the early games of the Finals against Boston, when he joined with Gasol to become a maniacal shot-blocker and efficient scorer.

From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: By one measure at least, he’s the country’s most popular. A new Harris Interactive shows Kobe Bryant has caught Tiger Woods as America’s most popular athlete. Granted, Woods’ recent history brought him back to the field in a big way, but it doesn’t change the basic reality: The “love me or hate me” thing with Bryant is dead, and has been for a while now. Love won.

Phillip Barnett

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32 responses to Around the World (Wide Web): Ratliff and Barnes Become Lakers

  1. Mitch is doing a good job of not only rounding out the roster but actually upgrading it. Way to go!

  2. the other Stephen July 23, 2010 at 9:51 am

    love will always win, baby.

  3. Remember when Matt Barnes was bashed by a folding chair back at UCLA? Hilarious: http://bit.ly/bWrySD
    That said, he’s tough (now) and a good pickup for the Lakers.

  4. Somewhere Jerry West is smiling. The man he trained has learned very well. Congratulations, Mitch, your GM skills are as impressive as a Kobe fallaway jumper, as a Phil Jackson zen moment. Laker nation is smiling this morning. Thirsting to meet the renegade Riley’s crew.

  5. Of the Lakers’ 11 titles in Los Angeles, 10 have come with at least one player on the roster who played at UCLA…

    …so I’m cool with the Matt Barnes signing.

  6. Barnes definitely adds a lot of tattoos to the mix. That was always something I thought the Lakers were really lacking in. Now I feel more confident in the Lakers tattoos matching up with Denver better.

  7. I think Barnes and Ratliff fill out the roster quite nicely. Ratliff has been playing in the NBA since the ABA was still around, but he won’t be asked to do much except fill in for a few minutes if Bynum or Gasol is injured.

    Barnes adds a serviceable back up for both Kobe and Artest. Can knockdown open shots and is a decent defender.

  8. From the Chris Paul thread (damn EST, always kills me when posting!)

    The only remaining question is whether Caracter and Ebanks will sign for the minimum contract for 2nd rounders.

    According to Hoopsworld, King’s center Hassan Whiteside was the 31st pick and signed a three-year deal with a first year salary around $730,000 this year. Toronto’s Solomon Alabi, who was the 50th pick, signed a three-year deal as well with a first year salary worth roughly $750,000.

    Note, these two teams have room under the salary cap to accomplish these deals.

    I hope these two players are willing to accept the minimum, but if they don’t, the Lakers would keep their draft pick rights I believe and hopefully sign them next year. But it would be instrumental for these two to stick with the Lakers, even if they’re receiving minimal playing time, to learn the system, etc.

    I really hope we don’t run into problems signing these two guys.

  9. I’ve got some concerns about Barnes’ baggage and inability to stick on a team despite possessing the gritty D and hustle that most teams covet in a role player. Especially since he’s been inexpensive most of his career making only a few million a year. Why hasn’t he stuck?

    That said, I thought in an ideal world, it would have been great to have Ariza and Ron manning the SF position as their talents are complementary and gives the team versatility in D matchups. Barnes is a poor man’s version of Ariza IMO. Not as good of a shooter and defender. But the same kind of lanky hustling defender who can fill the lane and cut to the hoop to finish off a pass.

    For the price, it’s a good pickup. If Phil and Kobe can work their jedi mind tricks on Barnes to keep him under control, then it should be okay.

  10. No way we run into problems signing our guys. While DC and DE have shown to be incredible values, they are stuck with the Lakers. The last thing either of them wants to do is make a stink before a potential lockout, destroy any good-will made up in the last year in DC’s case, and end up having to play in Europe for 2 years, only to have to come back to the table with LA, because the Lakers have their rights. We will get these guys to sign on the line that is dotted for at or very near the minimum.

  11. So let’s recap how this team has upgraded at every spot:

    1) We go from Adam Morrison to Matt Barnes
    2) DJ Mbenga to Theo Rafliff
    3) Jordan Farmar to Steve Blake

    AND we may still resign Shannon Brown AND bring in two promising rookies into the mix.

    MITCH, I LOVE YOU.

  12. Ideally, Ebanks would sign for the minimum (up to 2 years), while Matt Barnes would play out his 2 year contract. During that time, I believe Ebanks may develop enough to be the primary SF back-up. I think Ebanks, assuming he’d make the cut after training camp (most likely), probably is ok with the minimum for now.

    I wouldn’t be against signing Shannon either, but Dr. Buss doesn’t owe the fans this luxury, he’s already done enough purchasing.

  13. After we sign Caracter and Ebanks, the 2nd unit will be very scary !

  14. Love the Ratliff signing. Barnes could be an unknown commodity in as far as his temperament and productivity go. I would have preferred to see Roger Mason/Shannon Brown given a closer look, maybe they were who knows. Hope that Phil has had some say in these signings particularly Barnes, so we can be rest assured that it has Phil’s blessing and he is confident he can ‘manage’ this new resource who if handled right can be quite the x factor IMHO.

  15. Chownoir,

    Fyi Barnes is not lanky. He appears to be long but he has a relatively poor wingspan for his height.

  16. I love the new tone ,philosophy, aura that this Laker organization is working with the past two seasons or more. I refer to this mentality that anyone who tests, pushes Kobe is considered a viable signing option given the right conditions… Artest, Bell and now Barnes… just love this mentality that Kobe has signed off on or originated. This says everything that Kobe is about ever since Pau arrived.. and thats winning is the only thing that matters. period.

  17. I can’t imagine that Shannon is coming back — there just aren’t enough minutes to go around. Barnes is an upgrade on Shannon (not Ammo!), and in a tight playoff-style rotation would likely come in for Artest but then slide down to the 2 for Kobe when Artest comes back in.

    I really like the looks of this rotation:

    PG – Fisher
    SG – Kobe
    SF – Artest
    PF – Pau
    C – Bynum
    6 – Odom
    7 – Blake
    8 – Barnes
    9 – Sasha
    10 – Ratliff
    11 – Ebanks
    12 – Caracter
    IR – Luke

  18. So Josh Powell is officially moving to Atlanta then? That makes me a little sad. I understand that there is not a good spot for him on our current roster, but just as with Ronny Turiaf, I liked Josh Powell and I’m a bit sad to see him go. I hope he does well with the Hawks and that everything works out to the best for him.

  19. Based on our cores guys coming back and the upgrades will have made and a BIG IF but if Drew stays healthy I think this teams has the potiential to go 70-12. I know its early but my gut is telling me Drew will finally stay healthy and we now finally have a bench that can sustain leads and that will more rest for Kobe, Artest and Gasol. All in all a good offseason for the Lakers. Mitch is a beast!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Here are two ancillary benefits resulting from Theo Ratliff’s signing: 1) no Shaq; and 2) no Kwame.

    Barnes and Artest may have the most spirited practices, and Barnes will probably go at Kobe pretty hard in practice. Maybe that’s why he wanted to come to LA! :-)

    Once we get the two rookies signed, and once and for all, resolve the Shannon situation, what a magnificent summer it will be for the FO. There are reports out there that Kupchack is “optimistic” about Brown returning, but who knows, maybe it’s all a ploy to help Shannon procure a long-term contract elsewhere. There are still quite a few teams out there with cap space.

  21. I may be one of the few but I really want Shannon back as well, when Kobe went down with injuries he stepped in and had some big games. And while he wasn’t the most consistent bench player, he did provide an offensive spark in several key wins during the regular season. Carrying 14 bench players isn’t a bad idea, although I tend to think Ebanks wont see much playing time especially with the signing of Barnes. Caracter on the other hand I think is NBA ready and could see some minutes off the bench, effectively replacing Powell who did see some time during the regular season. Hats off to Mitch if he can resign Shannon as well because I don’t think the offseason could have gone much better.

  22. @beyondblue

    Agreed.

  23. let shannon dunk? nah. let shannon leave.

  24. Chownoir (was J) July 23, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    @15, Younger78. Yeah, Barnes’ wingspan is barely equal his height so is not to NBA standards. I was thinking the skinny slippery kind of guy vs Ron’s more tank like approach.

    Barnes was very effective cutting to the hoop and receiving passes for Orlando last year. With the triangle and Pau’s passing skills, he should see plenty of similar opportunities.

  25. I don’t see the need to add Shannon at this point. Blake, Barnes and to whatever extent he’s needed, Sasha, are going to eat up whatever minutes SB would likely see this season, barring any injuries to the guys ahead of him.

    It’s been a great summer for the front office. But seriously, can we please stow the 70 win talk?

    If history has taught us anything about these Lakers, it’s that there will be nights when they’re content to lose a meaningless game against the 76ers or Bobcats or whomever.

    There’s no reason to kill themselves in February games that don’t mean as much as the playoffs, and for that reason alone any talk of these guys pushing for 70 wins is ridiculous. Kobe, Fish and Pau have a lot of miles on their legs, and Drew’s past injuries don’t lend themselves to extending for something meaningless like 70 wins.

    The only wins that really matter to this crew are the 16 they need to hoist the trophy once the playoffs start.

    Just ask LeBron and the Cavs what they recieved for winning 60+ games the past two seasons. There’s no trophy for winning a lot of regular season games.

  26. Explain to me why Mitch hasn’t won the NBA Executive of the Year? Oh sure, he is happy with the hardware he has won, but he has been phenomenal in the last four years.

    So, at the moment, our line up and rotations look something like this (knock on wood):

    Center:
    Bynum, Ratliff.

    Power Forward:
    Gasol, Odom, Caracter.

    Small Forward:
    Artest, Barnes, Walton, Ebanks.

    Shooting Guard:
    Bryant, Vujacic.

    Point Guard:
    Fisher, Blake.

    Seems to me, at first glance if the front office wants 13 players instead of 14, that Ebanks is not a priority, but another combo guard (like Shannon Brown) would be.

    Now, one of the things that is great about this line up, and the triangle, and Phil Jackson as a coach, is the TREMENDOUS flexibility the Lakers have.

    Bynum is a center. Walton is a small forward. Fisher is a point guard.

    Every other player can easily move between two, or three, roles as needed.

    Honestly, how do you prepare for this team as an opposing coach?

    They can go HUGE: Bynum, Gasol, Odom, Artest, and Bryant, where Odom is essentially a “Point Forward” and Artest and Bryant are “guards” for defensive purposes. On offense that line-up can post up ANY of your defenders on isolation to either force the mismatch, or the double team. And who, exactly, do you leave open with the double team there?

    Or it can go small: Odom, Artest, Barnes, Bryant, and Blake, and pester you to death on defense, and run with the best of them.

    Or it can go surgical: Odom, Gasol, Walton, Bryant, and Fisher. That line-up would tear other defenses apart with it’s passing ability, and the finishing of Bryant and Gasol.

    Seriously, the Lakers have assembled a Swiss Army Team…

    Got to admit that I am already super excited about next season.

    Go Mitch!

  27. I think Mitch is making up for his “too-quick-to-pull-the-trigger” $5M contracts he lathered on the likes of Luke and Sasha. That’s really the only reason either of them are still on the roster. Can’t find any takers at that price. All the injury talk about Andrew kinda hides the fact that Luke has had more than his share of games missed due to injuries. Sasha had one good year knocking down 3s and has shown an exhuberance on defense – but that doesn’t justify the $$$$. All those who place the reasoning in the 2 pressure fts in game 7 of the finals should also look at the moments that Shannon brought to the season as well. In all honesty, Josh Powell, Jordan Farmar, DJ Mbenga and Shannon Brown were far more valuable than Luke or Sasha. As for that “High Basketball IQ” urban legend, it sure hasn’t shown much fruition – other than to land him a $5M contract and bragging rights over his old man.

  28. There’s no trophy for winning a lot of regular season games.

    Yes there is. They vote on it, and then give it to the best player on one of the teams that won the most games in the regular season. LeBron and the Cavs won it the past two seasons in a row, though I suppose technically the Cavs don’t get to keep it now that he’s moving to Miami.

    Though I’m with you that if I’m given the choice, I would much rather see Kobe win the Finals MVP again, than the one they hand out at the end of the regular season.

    Bottom line: We don’t need to win more games than any other team in the regular season. Let’s save that for the playoffs.

  29. Good article here, some interesting information. I have written a blog about Chris Paul and his wish list for my blog, pardonmybias.com. Here is the direct link to my post: http://pardonmybias.com/chris-pauls-wishlist/

    Feel free to comment.

  30. Portland has a lot of pieces to give up: Batum, Rudy, Bayless, Pryzbilla, Canby, Andre MIller – and they would have a lot left afterward too.

  31. For the 5.8 MLE, we snatched up Blake & Barnes. Basically, 2 for the price of 1.

    Also, we need to take into account the fact that both Barnes & Blake were Starters last season for their respective teams (Blake initially started for the Blazers, before ‘Dre Miller started complaining). So now we have 3 Players, (Barnes, Blake & LO) who can easily Start for other teams, coming off of Our Bench. Gotta Love It.

    In Barnes, we have an individual who can not only guard his position, (SF) but can also slide over and defend Shooting Guards & periodically, Point Guards (depending on the Body Type/Athleticism. PG’s such as Kidd & ‘Dre Miller come to mind). And for all of those who are worried about him Fitting In or being Problematic, weren’t those the same concerns we had last Summer regarding the arrival of Ron Ron. Look how that turned out.

    Can’t forget ’bout the acquisition of Ratliff. Even @ this point of his Career, he’s still a defensive Presence & didn’t look too bad actually when he was called upon to start Several games for the Bobcats last season. Bottom line is that considerin’ what Powell & Congo Cash gave us last year, TR will be an Upgrade.

    All n All, it has been a Great Summer for us & My Hat goes off to Mr. Kupchak. I Salute You.

  32. I would love to run with 15 and invite Congo Cash back for the trifecta but it isn’t my money to spend.