Kobe Bryant did not approve this message.â†µ
But even though Matt Barnes spent most of Sunday's game harassing Kobe (inspiring a three minute video of the two of them sparring) into 12 of 30 shooting and a Lakers loss, don't get confused: He's more than just your average agitator. Indeed, when the Magic signed him this offseason, it was one of the biggest—and quietest—steals of the offseason. Take a guess what Matt Barnes is making the next two years. Seriously, take a few seconds and guess.
$10 million? Nope. Lower.â†µ
$6 million? Nope. Even lower.â†µ
He's making $1.5 million for this year and next.â†µ
And even though, in theory, players like Barnes should be dime-a-dozen, they're not. Plenty of guys can play with toughness and pester superstars, but Barnes matches his hustle with real skills, making him a serious bargain at $3 million over two years. Today, SB Nation's Magic blog, Orlando Pinstriped Post, takes a moment to appreciate his virtues, and it's definitely worth a look.â†µ
As they explain, the only small forwards rebounding better than Matt Barnes are Gerald Wallace and LeBron James. That's pretty good company, and his true shooting percentage is 57%. Likewise, that's pretty damn good.â†µ
But if you don't want to appreciate the finer points of Matt Barnes' game... There's always this play from yesterday, a perfect snapshot from his Kobe harassment:â†µ
More impressive: Matt Barnes, for having the gall to taunt the Mamba himself? Or Kobe, for not even flinching?