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As the Los Angeles Lakers await to hear the choice Dwight Howard makes, they’re carrying on with their business as best as they can, though in the end, a lot of the decisions they make will likely be tied to Howard’s big decision.
One guy who they’ve been linked to already this off-season is former Laker, Matt Barnes, who reportedly may join the Lakers or Clippers for the mini-mid level exception:
Hearing Matt Barnes could sign with either the Lakers or Clippers for around the mini mid-level. Obviously D-Howard situation is priority.— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) July 5, 2013
The Lakers have around $3.2 million to offer via their mini-mid level exception, and the exception is only permitted to be used once this off-season. After that, it’s back to offering league minimum contracts to players.
I would actually be surprised if the Lakers gave Barnes all of their mini-MLE: seeing as it’s their biggest spending tool this summer. They’d likely be wiser to spend the $3.2 million on a younger player, instead of the 33-year-old Barnes.
Then again, if they plan on making Barnes their starting small forward, $3.2 million is a fairly small price to pay if Matt can deliver on a nightly basis. They could maybe justify giving the full mini-MLE to Barnes as opposed to paying Metta World Peace $7.7 million next season.
The Lakers are also said to be very interested in the services of Chris Copeland, a 29-year-old small forward who last played with the Knicks, and it’s very possible that the chances of Barnes joining the Lakers are tied to the eventual destination of Copeland – and vice versa.