“[The Lakers] are one of the teams we are talking to,” he told TMZ.com. “There are a couple of other teams. Hopefully we’ll get this arrest situation out of the way so I can go ahead and move forward with my career.”
The 6-foot-7 Barnes, who spent the last two seasons in Los Angeles, was walking on foot when he was arrested by Manhattan Beach Police in July for a traffic violation and for resisting arrest.
Even before the arrest, the Los Angeles Times had reported that the Lakers “aren’t expected” to re-sign Barnes after the team signed 23-year-old forward Devin Ebanks to a one-year contract back in July.
Barnes, 32, averaged 7.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 22.9 minutes per game last year, but was seeing little action by the season’s end. His defensive services and athleticism were especially helpful to a Lakers team that largely lacked just that on the perimeter that in a Western Conference loaded with young quick perimeter players, most notably the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Barnes actually played the fifth most minutes for the Lakers last season, but the team’s flurry of summer moves hasn’t helped his rotation standing. As of now, the Lakers go at least two deep at every position, meaning finding both court time and cap space for the nine-year pro out of UCLA will be tricky.
Barnes, however, lauded the team’s offseason acquisitions.
“I think it’s big,” Barnes said of the 4-team blockbuster trade that landed Howard on the Lakers in exchange for Andrew Bynum. “I think Dwight’s going to help, Steve [Nash] is going to help, [Antawn] Jamison is going to help.”
The question facing the Lakers is whether Barnes’ volatile personality isn’t worth the trouble in a locker room that will face all sorts of new chemistry questions. Howard must be worked into the pecking order. Bryant must get used to playing with a point guard who has the ball in his hands. Coach Mike Brown must incorporate two new starters and multiple new assistant coaches.
Best known for picking fights and talking trash on the court, Barnes has a long list of incidents to his name. He was suspended from a California pro-am league during the lockout for allegedly punching an opponent. During the 2010-11 season, he threw a Dallas Mavericks assistant coach to the ground during an in-game skirmish and he shoved Los Angeles Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin to the ground early in the 2011-12 season to earn a flagrant foul.
Barnes was also arrested on a domestic violence charge in September 2010, but was not charged in the incident.
Barnes’ career has included stops with the Clippers, Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic and the Lakers.