Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Magic add Barnes to the roster in what is turning out to be a busy off-season

By Anthony Caruso III

Matt Barnes is on the verge of signing with the Orlando Magic. Barnes is expected to sign a two-year deal within the next day or so with the Magic. He has spent the last few years playing under one-year deals.

Barnes is the newest addition to the Magic team this off-season, which has been a busy one. This off-season, the Magic re-signed Marcin Gortat – against his wishes as he wanted to sign the offer sheet with the Dallas Mavericks – and Brandon Bass. On the NBA draft day in June, the Magic acquired Ryan Anderson and Vince Carter from the New Jersey Nets. All these moves are made to help them to compete in the re-stacked Eastern Conference.

Barnes is expected to battle Mickaël Piétrus for the starting small forward position that is currently vacant. Barnes and Piétrus will each have their opportunities, beginning in September at training camp, to replace former starter Hedo Türkoğlu. Türkoğlu left via a sign-and-trade for the Toronto Raptors earlier this off-season.

Türkoğlu signed a 5-year, $53 million deal with the Raptors, after previously agreeing to a 5-year, $52 deal with the Portland TrailBlazers a few days earlier. Türkoğlu averaged 16.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.2 blocks in 77 games last season. He averaged a career-high 19.5 points during the 07-08 season, which was his 4th season in Orlando.

Barnes, in his one and only season in Phoenix, he averaged 10.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.3 blocks in 77 games. He averaged career-highs in points, rebounds, and assists last season. Piétrus, in his first season in Orlando, averaged 9.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.6 steals, and 0.4 blocks in 54 games, as the back-up to Türkoğlu.

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