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.