Lakers’ Matt Barnes and Shannon Brown have options for next season
The Lakers have some personnel decisions awaiting them at the end of the season. Nothing major, but the reserves could be affected.
It’s a tad early to say for sure, but Matt Barnes says he is comfortable with exercising his $1.91-million player option to stay next season. Shannon Brown isn’t committing either way to his $2.37-million option, content to live in the moment while the Lakers pursue a third consecutive championship.
The difference in approach might be as simple as the differing stages of their careers — Barnes is closer to the end at age 31, while Brown is only 25.
Brown has the added incentive of successfully taking advantage of free agency after getting only lukewarm response last summer, deciding to take slightly less money to stay with the Lakers instead of signing with Utah.
Brown makes $2.15 million this season, Barnes makes $1.77 million.
“I don’t know, man,” Brown said Tuesday. “There’s a lot that weighs in while thinking about this process.”
Testing free agency would be “the best scenario, I guess. But unlike last year, when I was thinking about it and thinking about it, this year it really hasn’t been on my mind as much because there’s a lot of history that can be made this year. That really honestly has been my focus.”
Brown is averaging 9.2 points a game, which would be a career high.
Barnes, on the other hand, is mainly seeking stability. He is on his eighth team in an eight-year career. He has stayed with the same team for entire back-to-back seasons only once (Golden State in 2006-07 and 2007-08).
“At this point, I want to win,” Barnes said. “Unless it’s something where people say, ‘You’re dumb for turning that down,’ I don’t really see myself making a move.”
The Lakers obviously hope both players stay, particularly when the average NBA salary ($5.8 million) is much higher than their individual options.
“A lot’s going to depend on how they perform and how we perform as a team over the next two or three months possibly,” Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said. “From a selfish point of view, we hope they both remain with the Lakers next year and play even better next year and be in better situation a year from now.”
When Phil Jackson and the Lakers parted ways after the 2003-04 season, after he had won three championships in five seasons, he said he didn’t monitor L.A.'s next hire as coach.
The job eventually went to Rudy Tomjanovich.
Jackson, who returned to the Lakers in 2005, has said this will be his last season. That being the case, Jackson was asked if he would pay more attention to whom the Lakers hire to replace him this time.
“I hope not,” Jackson said, smiling.
Will he have any input in the Lakers’ next hire?
“I haven’t been asked anything about that,” he said. “We’re still focused on what we’re doing right now.”
Times staff writer Broderick Turner contributed to this report.
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