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Matt Barnes To Return To Los Angeles Lakers, According To Report

Backup small forward Matt Barnes has decided to remain with the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2011/12 NBA season, reports Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles. The former UCLA Bruin announced Tuesday his intention to exercise his player option, saying, "I'll be a Laker next year. I always knew what I was going to do."

Following one-year stints with the Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic, the journeyman signed a two-year contract with the Lakers in the summer of 2010, with the second year at his option. For him, the decision to stay was easy.

In 53 appearances as a Laker, Barnes averaged 6.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 19.2 minutes per game. For the first time in his eight-year career, Barnes did not start any games, as Ron Artest was firmly entrenched as the team's top small forward.

According to ShamSports' salary database, Barnes' choice to remain a Laker guarantees him a little more than $1.9 million next season.