As the Los Angeles Lakers have learned this season, sometimes the best moves you make are the ones you don't make. When the Lakers were interested in Raja Bell this summer, I cringed. It was Bell, after all, who had the long contentious on-court relationship with Kobe Bryant, including this infamous clothesline by Bell in the 2006 playoffs:
However, Bell signed with the Utah Jazz before he was to have his scheduled meeting with Bryant in July, and the Lakers were forced to look elsewhere. That led to the signing of Matt Barnes, himself a former Kobe agitator in the past, and bringing back Shannon Brown on a two-year deal. Those moves, writes Dexter Fishmore at Silver Screen and Roll, have been keys to the Lakers' 8-0 start this season:
Had the Lakers signed Raja Bell, they might have elected not to re-sign Shannon, thinking that the shooting-guard pozishe was well-enough stocked. They definitely would not have signed Barnes, since they wouldn't have had the cap room to do so. Stop to think for a second how different this Lakers team would look. Your shudders of terror are understandable.
In the Lake Show's 8-0 start to the season, Barnes and Brown have been two of the brightest performers. Barnes has brought pep, defense and rebounding to the second unit. Coming into last night's game against Minnesota, he was in the top five in the league in offensive rebounding rate. He looks like a perfect fit for what the Lakers need in a backup three.
The Lakers, who are 8-0 for just the third time in franchise history, put that undefeated record in the line Thursday night in Denver against the Nuggets in a nationally televised game on TNT.
For more Lakers news, analysis, and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.