Trading with the Los Angeles Clippers was about getting rid of Lance Stephenson and maybe adding some shooting through Spencer Hawes. But Matt Barnes? It seems the Charlotte Hornets are already trying to get rid of him.
Barnes has been around the league with a long number of teams and regardless of the level of basketball he has shown, he always seem to need to prove himself all over again each season. He averaged 10.1 points per game during the regular season but didn’t do as well in the playoffs (7.6, with his shooting significantly worse), and overall his net rating doesn’t show the Clippers were much better when he was playing.
Barnes, 35, is something of a 3 & D guy with a slightly nasty or even dirty streak. He has a $3.5 million contract with one season left on it, but only $1 million of that deal is guaranteed, which makes moving him quite easy for the Bobcats. The Hornets will most likely release him by July 1 so just $1 million counts against the cap, but they will try to find a team for him by June 30 and move him on in another trade.
Barnes isn’t a bad player, but at his age and the way the league is shaping out to be, even a guy who can give decent shooting and defense for 25-30 minutes a night, can’t expect to be paid a whole lot because of his age. Barnes was healthy this season, missing just six games, but the postseason did show that it might get more and more difficult for him to put on the required level of basketball in high volumes.
So is it going to be the usual for Barnes? Just like a lot of older NBA players who can still contribute but no one wants to actually pay them a lot of money (Barnes has never made more than $3.3 million in a season), it might be the contenders circuit for him, as teams thinking about an NBA championship who have a place on their roster for this type of player will be chasing after him.
It’s too soon to say where he might end up, but it’s not going to be very long before he’s either a free agent or his contract belonging to a different team. The Hornets aren’t going to keep him around.