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Matt Barnes to Toronto Makes No Sense… Technically

July 19th, 2010 No comments

Despite what Matt Barnes reported on his own Twitter account last night, I can’t see how he’ll be heading to Toronto. Somewhere along the way, Barnes, his agent, the Raptors and the Magic are making a horrible miscalculation.

Multiple media outlets are reporting that Barnes has agreed to a two-year deal to join the Raptors that will pay him nearly $10 million, the second year being a player option.

However, the Raptors don’t have the means to offer such a contract.

What appears to be happening here is that Barnes, his agent, the Raptors and the Magic are confusing the basics of the salary cap rules. It’s actually quite embarrassing.

The Raptors are currently over the salary cap. The fact that they received a $14.5 million trade exception in the Chris Bosh sign-and-trade should make that obvious to everyone.

Therefore, the only means they have to to offer Barnes, a free agent who last played for the Magic, a contract would be via their mid-level or bi-annual exceptions or via the minimum player salary exception.

The Raptors utilized all but $770,000 of their mid-level exception to sign Linas Kleiza to a four-year, $18.8 million contract. Neither the remainder nor the full value of the bi-annual or minimum salary exceptions could possibly produce a contract that pays out $10 million over two years. Read more…

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Matt Barnes to decide today

July 16th, 2010 18 comments

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.

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Matt Barnes talking with the Heat

July 9th, 2010 No comments

Somehow, some way, the news just keeps getting better.

Free-agent forward Matt Barnes, who spent last season with the Orlando Magic, has told the Orlando Sentinel he’s interested in joining the Miami Heat, but his priority is to stay in Orlando.

That priority is likely the natural result of money. The Heat can only afford to offer a minimum contract, worth $1,146,337 to the seven-year veteran. Barnes, now an unrestricted free agent, opted out of a $1.6 million guaranteed contract in search of a bigger payday.

Orlando, however, is unlikely to provide one. The Magic would like to re-sign two of its own free agents, Barnes and guard J.J. Redick. But general manager Otis Smith stressed the Magic won’t overpay for either. It’s certainly understandable. The Magic now has a guaranteed payroll of over $83 million from its 11 roster players for 2010-11, putting the team more than $13 million over the tax threshold.

“We’ve been in contact with Miami,” Barnes said. “No question they’ve added some pieces with the Big Three.”

Barnes said he also has been in contact with the L.A. Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks. But the Magic remain “No. 1 on my list. I definitely want to stay in Orlando. That’s been my family’s stance as well.”

Barnes would presumably play a stretch forward position for the Heat, the same type of role which could be filled by roster hopeful Robert Dozier.

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