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Matt Barnes

July 23, 2010 by staff 

Matt BarnesMatt Barnes, ORLANDO, Fla. – Given a choice between playing for a champion or a rebuilding team that secured almost twice the money, Matt Barnes chose the winner.

Former Orlando Magic forward and native of California, said late Thursday it has signed a two-year and 3.6 million contract with the Lakers and in the process, only after a more lucrative deal with Cavaliers Cleveland.

Growing up in California, watching the Lakers play with Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), Byron Scott and Michael Cooper, who was a team I always dreamed of playing for,” Barnes told the Orlando Sentinel .

“It’s a great opportunity. Go to UCLA and have the opportunity to return to Los Angeles is like a dream come true. That said, when all this started, I said I’d be disappointed if not to the Magic, and still standing truth. ”

A Lakers spokesman confirmed Thursday that Barnes has signed the contract.

Barnes scored the Cavaliers’ offer “very tempting.” You guarantee and $ 7 million over two seasons.

However, the opportunity to play for the two-time defending champion proved too good to pass up. His new contract includes a player option for 2011-12 season.

He insisted he has no grudges against the Magic, who did not offer him a contract in the offseason. But he said: “As soon as the schedule goes, I know when we play Orlando, and I’ll definitely be ready for games.”

Barnes thought the Monday that was one of two years, and 9 million negotiated settlement with the Toronto Raptors. But that deal collapsed when it became clear that the complicated rules of the league salary cap prevented the Magic to offer that money in a signing operation and trade.

Meanwhile, the magic may have the opportunity of their own.

According cbssports.com, New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul wants to be traded to Orlando and has included in its list of destinations. When asked about the report Thursday, Magic General Manager Otis Smith said he would not comment on “rumors.”

The Magic have a more ready to fill, and team officials plan to sign a third base. That role could be filled by Jason Williams, who excelled as a backup last season’s Jameer Nelson.

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