- Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel: “It’s unlikely Matt Barnes will actually kill you … probably. But the idea sure made for some funny T-Shirts. Little else needs to be said about Barnes’ impact on the basketball court than the fact that those T-shirts, complete with a menacing picture of his face, exist. Barnes was the [Orlando] Magic’s tough guy last season. An antagonist to some of the league’s best players. It was how he contributed even while struggling offensively. Barnes, who opted out of the second year of his contract with the Magic this summer, will play for the Los Angeles Lakers next season. Salary cap issues won’t get in the way of this deal.”
- Make sure to check out Matt Barnes’ top five greatest hits.
- Trey Kerby of Ball Don’t Lie: I don’t know if you guys realize it, but we’re pretty close to entering a new era in the NBA. No, not the superteam era kicked off by the Miami Heat, though that’s happening too. Rather, I’m talking about a Shaquille O’Neal-free NBA for the first time since 1993. That’s pre-Justin Bieber being born, people. It’s kind of like a big deal. [...] It’s hard to even imagine what an NBA without the league’s biggest goofball would be like, but after scoring just a shade more than 600 points last year it wouldn’t be terribly surprising. Shaq’s one remaining skill is being huge, and while he’s very good at that, he doesn’t have a lot left to offer. Some post scoring, sure, but that often comes at the expense of a free-flowing offense. And let’s not even consider defense, since Shaq doesn’t.”
- More on O’Neal’s struggles to land with a team in the NBA.
- Eric Freeman of The Baseline chimes in on Barnes joining the Los Angeles Lakers.
- Beware the perils of cap space. Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated explains: “Over two decades of unrestricted free agency, the results have been recklessly disappointing for teams with major cap space. Shaquille O’Neal remains the only major free agent to win a championship with his new club, having won three championships for the Lakers after signing as a free agent in 1996. Four years after Shaq went to Los Angeles, Orlando thought it would be able to recruit Tim Duncan but wound up instead with Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill, whose injuries prevented the Magic from moving past the first round. Now the Heat hope they have created a dynasty around James, Wade and Bosh; even if it works, they will be the exception to the rule. Free agency rarely works out as planned.”
- Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus looks back at blockbuster trades involving superstars that were busts. At No. 1 is the Magic, when they infamously traded Tracy McGrady to the Houston Rockets and didn’t get much to show for it.
- A look at Dwight Howard‘s poor free-throw shooting.
- Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie thinks Barnes will have “the time of his life” with the Lakers.
- Want to give Barnes a proper send-off? Write a haiku at Orlando Pinstriped Post.
Friday’s Magic Word
I love the Matt Barnes highlight #2. He looks like he's trying to calm Garnett down, but admits he was provoking him. If you watch the replay, you can see the way Barnes spins Garnett around, but immediately makes it look like he's trying to cool KG down. Too funny.
That youtube clip also obliterates any charge that only select players gave effort in the ECF. That was a chippy game. Magic players were working VERY hard.
This just popped up on ESPN about five minutes ago: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5405528.
And by posting that I betrayed myself by paying attention to Chris Paul stories. Darn it!