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Orlando Magic starting small forward Matt Barnes‘ first preference as a free agent would be to try to win a title without needing to pack for another move. But if he doesn’t re-sign with the Magic, Barnes said Monday that he believes there are options for him — with other contenders. [...]
Barnes said he also has heard that the Magic perhaps are looking to swing a deal for a prime free agent. Shooting guard Vince Carter, reserve center Marcin Gortat and back-up small forward Mickael Pietrus have been among the names mentioned in trade scuttlebutt. [...]
Barnes told the Sentinel he also would be open to coming off the bench if the Magic make a trade for a power forward, a move that might shift Rashard Lewis back to his natural position at small forward.
Matt Barnes has said many times throughout the season that he’d like to return to the Orlando Magic and continue the chase for a championship with Dwight Howard and company. In that regard, Barnes has made his intentions clear. By the way, it’s curious to note that Barnes stated he would be willing to come off the bench if the Magic acquired a premiere power forward, presumably in a sign-and-trade, and moved Rashard Lewis to small forward. With Barnes, however, it shouldn’t be a surprise that he would be willing to be a reserve for Orlando, given that he’s proven time and again that he’s a consummate team player and wants to win at all costs.
The issue with Barnes’ situation is that he wants a raise, which he deserves, even though he fizzled out in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics and J.J. Redick emerged as a consistent threat for the Magic … to the point that head coach Stan Van Gundy was forced to find room for him on the floor. Yes, there were times when Barnes was the odd-man out in the lineup as Vince Carter slid over to the small forward position to accommodate Redick at shooting guard but it’s important to note Barnes’ body of work for the year and not focus too much on a bad series. In any case, where will the cash come from for Barnes?
Let’s presume, just for a second, that Orlando matches Redick’s offer sheet from another team like they did last year with Marcin Gortat. Because the Magic are over the salary cap, they would be able to offer Barnes either all or a portion of the mid-level exception. Even if Redick is offered the mid-level exception elsewhere, Orlando isn’t making the offer per se. In other words, the Magic are still able to use their own mid-level exception. It’s, admittedly, a confusing process. Remember, Orlando split up the mid-level exception to sign Brandon Bass ($4 million) and Barnes ($1.6 million) last season while retaining Gortat, even though he was offered the mid-level exception from the Dallas Mavericks. That is allowed by the current NBA collective bargaining agreement. Given that Barnes has stated repeatedly that he wants a raise and it’s assumed he wants a few million dollars, it appears that the Magic have the resources to bring him back if they choose to do so.
It comes down to money.