Matt Barnes – it makes sense

Well, the dust has well and truly settled on what has been a pretty hectic free agency hasn’t it? Not many eye-catching headlines around these days, best one I’ve seen today was that Earl Barron is drawing interest from a few suitors. Fascinating. So maybe now would be the time to strike for our Cavs, right? Hear me out. We were pretty much forced to sit out from July 1st to July 10th, waiting for you-know-who to decide his future and then leave. Our hands were tied; we spent all our time and energy concentrating on him, thus leaving us on the outside looking in at the rest of free agency. There won’t be many more crazy money deals being handed out, unless Toronto feels like they need to get a point guard or something. So now, when teams are pretty much at a stand still, let’s strike. One name should be well and truly atop our board of targets, ex-Cavalier Matt Barnes.

 

It’s a match made in free agency heaven. We need a small forward who can run, shoot and defend, Matt Barnes needs a team that needs a small forward who can run, shoot and defend. Matt Barnes does a lot of things well, making him a key component to any NBA team, even one such as ourselves who are facing a somewhat transition year with what has gone on. Barnes is a versatile perimeter guy who could play at shooting guard or small forward, and will bring the heat defensively all night. I had a conversation with Amin on Twitter about this and we settled on that a perimeter defensive trio of Barnes, Delonte and AP would be pretty awesome. Three tough nosed guys who can shoot the ball also, it could work.

 

Barnes didn’t put up gaudy number last year in Orlando – 8.8 points, 5.5 boards and 1.7 assists – but he fits a team system well. Five times last year he recorded 11 or more rebounds in a game, impressive considering he played alongside rebounding machine Dwight Howard. His season high in rebounds was 16 against Indiana, on a night where he held Danny Granger to 25 points off 19 shots. My newfound religious leader – Brian Windhorst – reports that interest is mutual from both parties, but several other teams have declared an interest in the former UCLA Bruin.

 

The Fakers, the Celtics and the three stooges in Miami have made their interest known, but let’s be realistic here – he’s going to get more opportunities in Cleveland. The Celtics have Pierce as their small forward, LA has Artest and Odom at times and Miami has the artist formerly known as 23 and Mike Miller. Arguably, he wouldn’t start in any of the three places, but he would be automatic in Cleveland. He wouldn’t command that hefty a salary either, leaving us with money still to pursue other free agents, and we could offer him stability, something he hasn’t had in his seven-year journeyman career. I’d offer him a fair chunk of the MLE, at maybe 4 years.

 

Matt Barnes – at 30 – isn’t the future of Cleveland basketball by any means, but he’s the ideal piece to help blend in the success of the past seven years with the uncertainty of the next few. Byron Scott was a coaching match made in heaven, now let’s get lucky with a new small forward.

 

Any other targets?

 

With Coach Scott saying we’re going to be running a whole lot, you’d assume a speedy floor general or wing player fits the mold. Flip Murray has been contacted, but also by several other teams. Unfortunately Shaun Livingston was wisely snapped up by the Bobcats – he’d have been nice. I feel pretty confident – be it through desperation or loyalty – of Mo Williams’s ability in this system to flourish, so maybe surrounding him with shooters, guys who can play the pick and roll well or a reliable inside presence may be the better choice. Problem is, there aren’t many of those guys left – as Paul Pierce said, its slim pickings. Maybe he is the truth? With the huge trade exception and some movable pieces on the roster, a trade may be the way forward in acquiring new additions. Wonder how enamoured the Bucks are with Michael Redd now that Salmons has signed a new deal? I know he’s not exactly the most durable guy in the world, but he can score the crap out of the ball. And for the last time, Iverson isn’t the answer, but isn’t something I’d be opposed to, more on that to follow…

 

Summer League

Looks like JJ has been working on a few things. Big things are expected of the freak athlete next season, and rightly so. It’s his third year, he’s a full season of being a starter behind him and he’s going to be a more focal point in the offense next year, his time is now. He needs to deliver – potential is ok once results begin to show. JJ, now’s the time to show. No more concentration lapses on defense, no more missed rotations or poor boxing out. We need you 110% focused every night, on both ends. I don’t care if you dunk on Wade’s head on one end if you allow Brian Scalabrine to get the rebound ahead of you on the other. Time to step up big fella…

 

Christian Eyenga, a younger Jamario Moon?

 

Anybody else a little upset with Danny Green’s development, or lack there of? He has the tools; maybe he’s destined for life in between D-League stud and serviceable NBA swingman? The upcoming weeks should tell a lot for his future in Cleveland.

 

The upcoming weeks should also tell a whole lot about our future as Cavaliers fans…

 

Reach me on Twitter @DOL17, on Facebook under David O’Leary or email at dol-17@hotmail.com  for consideration in the Stepien Rules mailbag.

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of StepienRules.com. I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine, Cleveland.com, BleacherReport.com, InsideFacebook.com and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.

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