Friday, July 23rd, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  98 responses

Lakers Reload By Adding Matt Barnes, Theo Ratliff

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

While their rivals across the League have spent the summer making splashy, homerun-type moves, the back-to-back defending champs have focused on adding key pieces, quietly strengthening what was already the NBA’s best team.

Theo Ratliff (1-year, $1.35 million) and Matt Barnes (2-years, $3.6 million) both agreed to small deals with the Lakers last night, providing LA with added toughness and defense as it chases a three-peat.

Barnes, 30, turned down more money from the Cavs — Cleveland offered him $7 million over two seasons — for a chance to play in his home state, and a shot at winning a ring.

He will also have no choice but to play nice with both Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom.

Matt Barnes tells the Orlando Sentinel that he’s also looking for a little revenge against his former team next time LA and the Magic face off:

“But, ultimately, deep down, once things kind of messed up with Orlando, I knew that I wanted to be in a position to, as some would call it, ‘get ‘em back.”

“I knew that Miami and L.A. would be up there as far as contenders. No disrespect to Cleveland, because they have a very talented team and a great new coach and they will definitely be in the mix. But going to the Lakers, the two-time defending champs going for a threepeat, I knew that down the road we are going to get a chance to see Orlando, and that’s what excites me.”

It remains to be seen what the Lakers will do with Shannon Brown, who continues to negotiate with the team about a new deal. With the addition of Barnes, Brown’s time in Los Angeles may have just come to an end.

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  • Epsilon Nupe

    lakers are going to be tough on defense now, as if they werent before with artest. Does this mean brown is not going to re sign?

  • peter

    Man, I hated this guy last season and now I’m gonna have to root for him…great addition though. Look out Miami! I wonder if him and Kobe will have flinch sessions in practice?

  • Reflex

    Blake, Barnes, Theo Ratliff & 2 promising rookies. The bench just got an UPGRADE!

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    Theo´s body still around?

  • Coney Islander

    SMH! Why do the Lakers always seem to find ways to get better every year?! I wish their management ran the Knicks!

  • ALEX80

    Good luck,…we miss you in PHX.

  • Johnathan

    Haha matt prolly gunna do the ball fake at kobe again in practice.

  • spit hot fiyah

    they got barnes on the cheap, didn’t they?

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    Solid moves right there…I think Caracter is going to be a nice player for them too. At pick #58 he was a steal.

  • kh

    YES YES YES! Very nice pick ups all around. Good role players, a strong bench. Lakers are going to be real tough. I can’t wait for the season to begin!

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton


  • Reflex

    @ spit hot fiyah, as we say here in the UK, cheap as chips

  • lou

    UK? Stick with soccer buddy

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    LOL @ peter. Nice moves for the Lakers. That should be one crazy as$ lockerroom. Phil’s got his hands full for his swan song. Looks like I’m gonna be staying up late again this season.

  • Blackphantom

    I like these additions, i guess Theo Ratliff will probably step in Bynum’s place when he’s getting rest(or dealing with early foul trouble). Nice addition to the bench, i’m really gonna like this 2010-11 team

  • Kendrick is God

    @lou you stick to ‘soccer’ we play football over here, ignorant mofo

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    The Barnes move is great. Not sure how many minutes he’ll get (Kobe’s bench minutes are minor and I guess once Artest hit’s foul trouble he’ll cover those extra minutes). Theo is a nothing move for them. If they had to choose someone, they should have used that money and signed Shannon….he’s had his moments for them and has an upside, not like a 37 year old Theo with a complete downside moving forward. Barnes signing cut into the two young guys potential minutes too, so I doubt there will be any contribution from them for a couple of seasons. Phil’s not going to sit well with rookie mistakes in his final go around, that’s for sure. Nice upgrade for the champs with Barnes….although I think they’ll miss Brown as their third point guard if they lose him.

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    I read on another site that Lakers and Brown are still negotiating and that the addition of Barnes does not affect Brown’s status with the Lakers.

  • Anthony

    LOL @Anton

  • Anthony

    co-sign Eboy, there’s a reason why Pop got rid of him last year. I hope they dont lose Shannon thought.

  • http://Www.dimemag.com Royal

    I’m happy with this move for the moment …but I have a weird feeling that in 7-8 years the Lakers are going to be a early first round exit
    team at best. But I assume that’s the price you have to pay.

  • Yesse

    It’s a good add, for now. This will hunt Lakers back. They have been lately adding only slow players and more defensive and grumpy players who are not really the main guys on fastbreak. The same happened when they added Payton and Malone and eventually lost. I hope this isn’t a deja vu.

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    Barnes is a nice fastbreak player and Theo will be there for only spurts and to be a nice presence in the lockerroom. @ Royal…in three yrs the Lakers will have only Ron Artest & Blake under contract. That leaves plenty of cap space to do whatever.

  • http://Www.dimemag.com Royal

    ^^^^ oh ok that’s good……

  • kh

    I don’t want to see them lose Shannon, I think he is a very serviceable 3 PG and spark of the bench. I don’t want to lose him, but I’d like to see if he can develop with more minutes.

  • lou

    Lol @ reflex. We’re in USA, retard, take a football and stick it up your a$$,, haha

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    If it takes Brown leaving to sign Ebanks and Caracter then I think its worth it. Ebanks is a nice leaper himself and he is a better shooter, defender than Brown.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    Barnes is a great addition as a “now” solution. Must keep shannon for the future.. But keeping them both, that’s hard with minutes alone, but i guess that much talent is a good problem to have. If someone can do it, its Jax..

  • http://Yahoo Shanooooooo

    Does this mean Dj Mbenga is not coming back. I think he’s better than an old a$$ Ratliff. He brings nothing but energy when he steps on the floor. Plus I thought that was Kobe’s guy ! And I like Shannon Brown but he thinks he’s better than he actually is (but who doesn’t). He’s not a starter in the NBA just an energy guy off the bench that has defensive breakdowns from time to time.

  • http://www.nba.com L

    They have a lot of old people now aha

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    This Theo Ratliff signing came out of nowhere. Kind of makes me think another deal maybe coming. Like the Barnes pickup, though. I really hope we can hang on to Shannon.

  • javy

    @Yesse: History tells you that defense and halfcourt game wins championships. Being nasty, dirty and playing a good set is key. Look at Phoenix and dallas with their Run, fastbreak game and no wins when it matters….Look at Celtics and Lakers grumpy, slow players that are veterans and know what it takes.
    This is a great move. Shannon is like Ariza, yes athletism but that’s all. Defense is what we need!!!

  • http://www.twitter.com/RealBisi Bisi

    Looks like DJ Mbenga’s tenure with the Lakers is over :( He needs to start somewhere else.

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    The Lakers are far from being as old as Boston or SA. Their avg age is still around 29.

  • T-Money

    Don’t get excited about the rooks, I love Caracter too but Phil never plays rooks. Barnes is a solid pick-up. Not sure if he’s much better than Brown though, different for sure, scrappy. Somewhat overrated on defense, he’s physical but not strong. Bron Bron was geting wherever he wanted to go on the floor with Barnes on him last year. Blake is a MAJOR upgrade over Farmar though.

  • http://Badnewzb8ller Badnewzballer

    I’d rather have Blake,barnes, ratliff than farmar, brown, Powell. We def upgraded. Brown is way overrated I couldn’t stand te hype.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    It’s okay, Shannon Brown will just go home back to Monica…

  • Marco

    lou irritates me almost like hurricane. both are idiots. your football is played only in the states and for this reason is known all over the world as “american football”.The term “football” describes the biggest sport of all, the one which you call soccer,because of your ignorance

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    Barnes will be that shooter the Lakers needed to hit that corner three consistently in the triangle and he has quickness to cover 2-guards that are too quick for Ron Ron.


    This calls for Matt Barnes to get a new tattoo.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    Theo is still really really good. He wont have to play more than 20 minutes a game when they do need him, and they probably wont need him that much so when he does play he will be really productive. Barnes is another solid player and they got a real bargain for the contract. Strong moves by LA. (fu(k them though)

  • unrel

    great pick ups.. theo will help bynum learn on the defensive end.. and barnes is a good defender with a jumper.. kobe never has to play D again.. and as far as people saying to keep shannon for the future.. lakers are just making moves to win as much as they can with kobe.. jerry buss is a great business man.. he doesn’t waste time with too much negotiating.. just ask ariza and his agent.. so s.breezy needs to figure something out..

  • Reflex

    cosign kendrick is god.lou sit down mate, you’re sounding silly

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    Phil began playing Vujacic more because he could not trust Brown on offense or defense while he was in the game. Poor ball handling, missed defensive assignments, and a very inconsistent jumper.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    T-Money, when you said lebron was toying him around, i hope you mean regular season cuz he wasnt there in the orl-cle series..

  • Bruno

    as many said phil never plays rookies but both are great they sould learn as much as they can cause in a couple of years they might be starters

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    *regular season this year.

  • http://www.twitter.com/gerardhimself Gerard Himself

    I wonder where they’ll find playing time for Barnes. Obviously he’ll be backing up Artest, but 10 mpg ain’t that much. Maybe he’ll also back up Kobe?

  • http://www.slamonline.com jumpman3224

    Last time LA went out and brought in a guy who Kobe had a on-court spat with on national tv (Artest) they went on the win the chip, so I like this. Barnes definitely brings a different dimension to the Lakers off the bench. If he can hit 3′s consistently he will be getting a lot of burn in the playoffs. Ratliff, even at this point, is an upgrade over DJ to back up Andrew.

  • underdog

    For some reason Theo Ratliff is one of my favorite centers in the L. Great to see he’s still around, and this time he is on a contender’s roster.

  • lou

    Both Marco and reflex are morons, making arguments out of definitions, we all know what they mean but we live in the US, retards

  • Aaron

    Wow. Great move. Maybe Stern should just present the Lakers with their rings from last year along with next years.

  • orl.chris

    @Kap – are you kidding me dude? Barnes a good fastbreak player? HA! He is terrible on breaks. I cringed every time I saw him leading the way on a break for the magic last season cuz its about a 50/50 chance if he’s going to finish the open layup or not.

  • http://gmail dirty frank

    @lou&Marco – STFU. This is an article about the Lakers. A basketball team. Take your lover’s spat to hotmail or facebook.

  • http://gmail dirty frank

    Great pick-ups. Has Ratliff picked up a ring in his 40 years in the league?

  • http://Slamonline.com Negetivekreep

    LA Is now the deepest squad in the forward positions.

  • T-Money

    unrel: against the heat, he’ll have to play defense vs wade or bron. he won’t be able to relax on the pg either because blake or fish can’t cover d-wade. / btw, is there another matt barnes that i don’t know of that hits 3s regularly and finishes on the fast break?

  • Shem

    Artest and Kobe as well as Barnes can arguably guard LeBron and Wade… When Miami’s bench comes out, that’s when the Lakers will take over. I think Bynum’s length can bother Bosh because whenever Bosh played against Samuel Dalembert and those lengthy guys, he had a lot of problems. I think LA are still the frontrunners.

  • total scrotal implosion

    Kobes a punk for recruiting the tough guys who dont givee a fudge aabout him

  • Durrell

    Mbenga??? #JordanShrug

  • williedebo

    Remember when Matt Barnes was bashed by a folding chair? Hilarious: http://bit.ly/bWrySD Also, great pickup for Lakers – another coup for Mitch.

  • JTaylor21

    When did Barnes all of a sudden become a great defender, dude has never even being a good defender. You lakers fans are funny, as soon as someone gets signed by the lakers, they all of a sudden become a great defender huh. Kobe or Barnes are not going to be able to stay in front of wade and artest struggles with players that are quick and move without the ball ala bron. Whoever saw the season series vs the cavs, so that when bron moved with out the ball and used his quickness instead of being stationary, artest had a hard-a** time keeping up with him. He dropped 37 on them in the 2nd meeting.

  • AiRsMiTh

    Theo is a definite upgrade over Mbenga. No disrespect to Mbenga, but Theo is a well-rounded vet. He’ll definitely contribute out on the floor, no matter how little he plays. He can still block shots! Plus I don’t think he has a ring, so I guess I’ll root for the Lakers in the Finals.

  • T-Money

    Shem: Arguably is the keyword here. LeBron destroyed the Lakers last year. He also destroyed Barnes. Kobe is 1a or 1b in the NBA. BUT LeBron, Wade, Miller is SO MUCH BETTER than Kobe, Artest, Barnes. / About the bench, it’s fairly equal right I’d say. Haslem, Miller, Z, Arroyo will be Miami’s top 4 vs Odom, Barnes, Blake, Vujacic for LA. / LA are the favorites because they’re the two-time defending champs but I think Miami has more talent on paper than LA. It’s the first time in a while we can actually say that about any team.

  • http://Www.dimemag.com Royal

    You could argue that the Celtics had a better team on paper than the Lakers last year ….

  • flimo

    It’s pointless to compare LA’s roster to Miami’s, ’cause it will be a Boston-LA Finals again.

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    LA has a much better bench than Miami and the 1-5 positions are better as a whole while Miami has the advantage at the 3. BTW…Lebron struggled on Xmas against LA and he and Kobe were kinda even in January. Also, Artest was 20lbs heavier when he matched up agst Lebron and didn’t find his mojo on defense until the playoffs. LA are the favorites bc they have the most complete team now with few or no weaknesses while Miami only has several weaknesses with the biggest being size.

  • Drew

    How did a piece on the Lakers signing players turn into a spat over futbol/soccer? LOL everyone just get along. It’s not that serious.

    Anyways, great move by the Lakers!!

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    Just saw on twitter that LA signed Barnes bc Walton will likely miss next season and possibly retire. Also the team is working on resigning Brown and has begun negotiations with Ebanks and Caracter.

  • http://www.slamonline.com JL

    well there you have it, trade luke (4.84mil insurance pays for his salary), sasha (expiring 5 mil) and bynum (12.5mil)=22.3mil to hornets for paul 14.9mil and okafor 11.5mil = 26.4mil. salaries would be pretty close i think. ok did the math it’s 4 mil off. nvm. maybe throw in blake’s 4 mil. so hornets get money in luke’s salary, expiring contract, get rid of okafor, and a center who’s injury prone but has alot of upside. plus backup PG at a good price.

  • Tagausig

    @JTaylor21, lol, its given that LBJ can score so much point but in the end of the day, when season end its LA won the championsip. So I guess saying LBJ as a good player everytime doesnt make sense until he win a ring…!!! I am not a Laker fans nor Kobe fans but I am tired of seeing people comparing players with different level of achievements. Have a life and enjoy the sports

  • javy

    Walton retire????When did his career start????
    Are you talking about the 7 footer that played for UCLA?

  • Anthony
  • total scrotal implosion

    Tiago is coming for your soul pau

  • Cool Dude

    Walton should just become an assistant coach. He can’t shoot for squat but knows the game.

  • Drew

    I don’t even know why the Lakers originally signed him to such a long contract.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    1: Walton can shoot, and knows basketball very well. But he has become invisible because of all the injuries. At this point of his career, staying on one team, he should have been a starter or 6th/7th man. But obviously that won’t happen. If the Lakers kept him on the pay roll by making him a coach, it would be smart.
    2: Barnes makes me more nervous then when Artest joined. Hopefully he can work on the things the Lakers ask of him and he becomes a good bench piece for us.
    3: Theo is pointless. At least Mbenga is a crowd pleaser. But, the Theo signing doesn’t matter because he will not get more then 2/3 minutes a game.
    4: Instead of Theo, we should have signed Hakeem The Dream. Just watched Joe’s vs Pro’s. And he can STILL ball. Better than most big men in the NBA. He has a mid range and is in shape still. That is who we should have signed.
    5: I love that every team Bron plays for, either the Heat or the Cavs, they go after Lakers players/staff. And they all decline. And than when there is a free agent and they have the choice between the Lakers and the Heat, they pick the Lakers. Or if it’s between the Heat or another team, they pick the other team. Awesome to watch : D… even if I am being a bit biased!!
    6: This season is going to be crazy. Possible 70 team from Miami. Lakers are becoming “actually” stacked. OKC. Chicago. Weems and Derozan. Blake GRiffin. John Wall and Arenas. God love basketball.
    7: The Lakers bench is “actually” okay this year. Last year, everyone said the Lakers couldn’t win twice in a row because fisher was done, kobe was injured, pau was soft, lamar never shows up, bynum was injured and the rest was a bench who was one of the least productive in the NBA. And than they win and everyone says they are stacked. This is making our bench half decently … good. Just goes to show you how good Kobe actually is : D!!!

  • http://Slamonline.com Philly

    lebron chokes ! go Every other team except the heat

  • bill breedley

    good moves for the lakers. would like to see another WC team stackup by hopefully getting CP3. East looks interesting right now and would like another challenger in the west. OKC will hopefully not be a fluke.

  • benny

    ratliff isn’t a winner…la’s done

  • ENDS

    matt barnes will kill you

  • Shem

    What are you guys talking about. Barnes will get 20+ minutes a game. The starting line is Fish, Kobe, Ron, Pau, Drew and off the bench they got Brown (or Blake) Vujacic, Barnes, Odom and Powell or Mbenga. Obviously they won’t sub the entire starting line out at the same time, but Barnes will be backing up Kobe and Ron. You guys are talking like Barnes won’t get any minutes. They got him at a complete bargain and he may not be the most consistent player on offense but he will bring it on defense. Kobe told Lakers staff to bring him in because he knows he’s a quality defender. That’s a lot coming from one of the best scorers in the game. As for Theo, he’s changed teams 14 times (this is his 15th) which I think is a record. He has absolutely no offense, but he’s a gritty defender. I don’t see him getting any minutes but he’s a veteran for the locker room and I wouldn’t be surprised if you see Powell gain a lot from this move

  • Lawrence

    shannon brown should also stay in lakers like fisher…i contributed well during the season and the playoffs..

  • Lawrence


  • bill breedley

    will enjoy seeing him rough up dwade and his sidekick for 5-10 minutes a game.

  • johnpebenito


  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Gotta ask you basketball pundits something: If a player is drafted in the second round, does the team that drafted him have priority to sign him? Or, is that player able to make his own moves and sign with anyone?
    I always thought that a team has priority to sign its second round pick, but if it chooses not to, then that player is free to maneuver anyway he wants. Is this correct?

  • sergio

    Powell and Mbenga aren’t coming back- Powell is heading to Atlanta to back up Josh Smith.

    With Bynum+Pau and Ratliff+Lamar, and evenutally Caracter backing the bigs up, the frontline is set.

    But the last move the Lakers MUST make, is resigning Shannon Brown. Artest/Barnes/Walton/Ebanks’s skills sets dont allow any of them to play many minutes at the guard positions and power forward position, mainly because of Artest’s need to guard opposing teams star player (usually a shooting guard/small forward), Barnes inconsistencies in 3pt range, Walton’s lack of defense, and Ebanks inexperience.

    This means that the only guards will be Fisher/Blake and Kobe/Sasha. We need to sign Shannon because Fisher (37 yr old) and Blake (30 yr old) may not be able to defend the young point guards in the league. It is also a priority to cut Kobe’s minutes next year. Therefore, there is a need for an explosive COMBO guard with huge potential on the defensive end, to back up Kobe and keep up with point guards that burn Fisher/Blake. Sasha is great but he is too inconsistent to be a solid back up to Kobe.

    Onto of all of this, without Shannon, the most athletic players on the roster (excluding the rookies) are Kobe and Barnes. Both are 30+ in age, therefore the Lakers are in desperate need of Shannon’s freak athleticism.

  • T-Money

    James: what about Mike Miller??

  • The Philosopher

    Kobe just had his knee done again.

  • The Philosopher

    Teams do not have to sign anyone if they do not wish to, if I’m not mistaken.

  • http://www.kwapt.blogspot.com KobeWearsAPurpleThong

    Over. Rated.

  • http://www.google.com gmZ

    I really cant wait till for the season to start!

  • Purple & Gold

    @ Teddy-the-Bear teams that draft players in the 2nd round hold their draft rights. Even if some players are in Europe and stay there for a year or 2. Only un drafted like Wes Matthews Jr. last year and Jeremy Lin this year are free to sign with any team out right.

  • Purple & Gold

    Mark my words. The Lakers who were a top 3 defensive team last year. Don’t believe me look it up. Will be the # 1 defensive team in the league next season. All of the guys the Lakers signed this season (Blake, Barnes, Ratliff) are known for being tough scrappy defensive minded players. Even Devin Ebanks who was one of the 2nd round picks was known as a defensive specialist @ West Virgina last year in college. Boston will not be the # 1 defensive team like they have been known for the past 3 seasons because Tom Thibodu the architect of that defense is gone and Tony Allen is gone and that ugly mug Kendrick Perkins is out until at least the all star break. Oh yeah KG is on his last legs and will never get back to playing the same defensive level when he won Defensive Player Of The Year back in th 07-08 season.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Does anyone else think that a Barnes – Kobe – Artest – Gasol quartet could defend the trio of Bosh spice – Swade – LeDance Dance quite well?

  • Ronald

    @Teddy: A player drafted in the 2nd round will have his rights held by the team for 3 years and therefore have the 1st priority when signing him in that period.

  • BostonBaller

    Dang!! The rich get richer. lol. Where are these teams getting this money from, a monopoly board? lol. I’m sending all my colored cash to Danny A and have him sign some really good players to help us out so we can stay healthy and fresh….I’m not mad at LA, they are doing what is needed. Ron Ron, Theo & Barnes can give any 3 at their positions trouble defensive wise. No one can stop JBJ or Wade but LA has players that can slow them down and tire them out. Now it’s time for the Magic & C’s to step it up. I’m hoping Harangody is actually really good. lol