Matt Barnes to decide today

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Orlando Magic forward Matt Barnes is close to finalizing a contract that could send him to South Florida for next season.

Barnes said yesterday that he’ll announce his decision at some point today.

He posted the following message to his Twitter account yesterday afternoon: “2maro is the day. I will let my fans know where I’m going to sign. Its gonna SURPRISE you!!!! Keep it locked.”

Barnes, 30, has played for seven teams during his seven-year career and was initially looking for a long-term deal after opting out of his contract with the Magic. He had stated publicly in recent weeks that his first preference would be to return to Orlando, but that is now a practical impossibility with Magic general manager Otis Smith’s decision to match Chicago’s 3-year, $19 million offer sheet to guard J.J. Reddick. Orlando’s team payroll now exceeds $90 million.

Boston and Miami are the presumed favorites for his services, with Dallas and the L.A. Lakers also in the mix. The Mavericks could offer Barnes up to a full mid-level exception contract; the Lakers could offer a contract starting at $1.8 million; the Celtics and Heat could offer minimum salary contracts.

The Heat could certainly utilize Barnes’ skill set. Barnes is a scrappy, experienced combo forward who has found a home in the NBA thanks to the aggressive mentality he brings to the floor. He is lockdown perimeter defender capable of manning the two, three and four positions. He’s also evolved into an underappreciated but effective scorer from in close, who could provide an alternative source of scoring for the second unit. While he has the reputation for being a three-point shooting threat, his conversion rate has never been spectacular. Last season, he shot just 31.9% from distance.

The addition of Barnes along with the possible signing of three-point specialist James Jones would shore up the team’s need for depth at the small forward spot, and allow Pat Riley to focus on areas of greater need.

Barnes averaged 8.8 points and 5.5 rebounds in 26 minutes of action for the Magic last season, starting 58 games.

18 Responses

  1. Remote Heat fan says:

    I have been thinking about this. Seeing that Chicago lost out on Reddick, why would they not put out a $2m deal for Barnes? There are teams who can use his services and have cap space/MLE to play with.

  2. Heat-Struck says:

    If we get Barnes, we would only need to worry about then would be a PG.

    …but honestly, does it matter who we get for point guard if Lebron and Wade are going to control the ball completely? Keyon Dooling can hit a three and defend well, so I say we go for him.

    PG – Mario Chalmers / ? / ?
    SG – Dwyane Wade / Mike Miller / ?
    SF – Lebron James / Matt Barnes / DaSean Butler
    PF – Chris Bosh / Udonis Haslem / Juwan Howard
    C – Joel Anthony/ Zydrunus Ilgauskus / Dexter Pittman

    I would rather help DaSean recover, than stick him oversees. Same thing for Pittman… he needs conditioning, which we should monitor.

    Anycase, we are almost ready for the season. Things are turning out rather nicely I must say.

  3. Albert says:

    @Remote Heat fan
    You certainly make a valid point. There are teams with room to offer significantly more than can the Celtics or Heat, though these are rumored to be Barnes’ top choices at the moment.

  4. Heat-Struck says:

    @Albert

    That’s why it’s about Family & Sacrifice. I don’t want anybody on this team that’s not on the same page as the rest of the roster, who are all players taking a lot less for one goal. WIN IT ALL!

    Raja Bell wants $$$… then I don’t want him on this team. Barnes wants to be part of our family… then I want him on this team.

  5. Jack says:

    Albert, what options are likely to be on the table for Point Guard depth?

    All the other bench spots are progressing nicely except for this one.

  6. Albert says:

    @Jack
    Carlos Arroyo, Chris Quinn, Earl Watson, Eddie House (combo), Jason Williams, Kenny Hasbrouck (combo), Keyon Dooling and Patrick Beverley (combo) appear to be the most viable options right now.

    It’s not a spectacular list to be sure, but several address specific areas of need.

  7. vincent says:

    http://twitter.com/Matt_Barnes22

    Couple new teams just jumped n2 the game, so I’m sorry 2 say ima have 2 get back 2 you. Ill let yall know something with in the nxt few daysFishandChips
    Ballboy

    I say Chi.. now

  8. Albert says:

    @vincent
    I certainly agree this is not a good sign, possibly an indication that he is pursuing a larger contract.

    Rumors that he will be headed to Chicago have floated around, which is quite intriguing. The Bulls have no no depth at point guard after Derrick Rose and no depth at shooting guard after Ronnie Brewer. The crops of free agent guards is thin, suggesting that Barnes could be utilized as a primary backup to Brewer, as well as a defensive complement to Kyle Korver’s superior long-range shooting at small forward.

  9. Jack says:

    Albert, who would you target next year (2011) with the Heat’s MLE and and draft pick if you were Pat Riley?

    Surely the Center and Point Guard positions will be supplemented and improved….

  10. Albert says:

    @Jack
    Unfortunately I am anticipating a lockout for next season. Once basketball resumes, I anticipate the rules may change quite significantly. There may not be a Mid-Level exception to employ.

    That being said, there will be plenty of quality free agent centers available, a list that will include Erick Dampier, Greg Oden, Joakim Noah, Joel Przybilla, Kendrick Perkins, Marc Gasol, Samuel Dalembert, Spencer Hawes, Tyson Chandler and Yao Ming.

    Point guards will be harder to come by. The list includes Aaron Brooks, JJ Barea, Mike Conley and Tony Parker.

    When the current off-season is wrapped up, I will write a summary of what’s transpired, and then write a description of the key 2011 free agent targets.

  11. Heat-Struck says:

    …I say we skip Matt Barnes and move onto Rasual Butler. If Matt Barnes wants to play for us, he knows how to contact us. Riley is not going to beg anyone, like some of these other jokes for GMs.

  12. jc says:

    guys, where can we find rumors about all the available free agents? dooling, butler, house?

  13. Albert says:

    Cleveland Cavaliers are rumored to be among the new teams interested in Barnes. Cleveland has the full MLE available.

    Also on the Cavs list is another Heat hopeful, Rasual Butler.

  14. Eric says:

    Good news! Joel Anthony just re-signed with the Heat!

  15. vincent says:

    @jc
    here
    stay tune…………….

  16. lucas fb says:

    @Eric
    partially good news, cause he was signed for 18M in 5years.
    i would give him 10m and 4years, or 12m and 5years.

    i really dont know if pat boosted joel earnings to use him as part of a trade for a >center or pg???

    i sure would feel better giving dampier a 15m in a4years contract. is a shame we would have to wait for him to be waived and by then we couldnt add players for the minimum cause all would be gone!!!

  17. lucas fb says:

    actually a 10m for 3years for dampier, with florida no tax,probably would be enough!!!

    from a money and age standpoint cause dampier is now 35,but still very solid!!!

  18. lucas fb says:

    but i dont doubt we sign him(dampier) for the minimum, thats only 1of the reasons i wouldnt jump on juan,specially right now!!!

    if u have to go for some big available now i woulg go for kwame and/or tolliver!!!

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