By Matt Moore
Interesting element in play right now. The lockout is still in effect, which means players can't be fined, which means Matt Barnes can say whatever he wants.
Like, oh, say, telling the press that both Dwight Howard and Baron Davis have talked to him and said they want to play in L.A.
From ESPN LA:
The key quote?
"I've talked to both of those guys and they want to be here, so we'll see what happens."
Technically, Barnes isn't tampering anyway. He's just saying that both of those guys have said they want to be here. Davis is at least a candidate for amnesty, so he's a possibility if he'll take a reduced salary. But Howard of course is under contract.
The bigger problem is this continues a pattern. It's easy to pass this off, to say this is just one roleplayer saying Howard wants to come to L.A. and there's more to it. But we keep seeing the same things, whether it's talk of LeBron wanting to play with Wade, or Chris Paul toasting to playing in New York, there are rumors and whispers and small elements that seem to light the way for a small market star headed to a bigger one, and then it happens. And then everyone acts surprised.
Howard will deny it, and say he loves Orlando, and all the while, the same pattern will keep spelling Howard to the Lakers. Maybe Matt Barnes was just messing with the media. But in the meantime, Magic fans have to be sick with the fact that everyone keeps laughing about how obvious it is, that they're about to lose their second franchise center in fifteen years to the Lakers.