Adrian Wojnarowski reports Orlando Magic free-agent forward Matt Barnes is close to reaching an agreement with the L.A. Lakers on a one-year deal for $1.7 million, unless the Cleveland Cavaliers swoop in with more money, ending a bizarre free-agency streak which began Monday when Barnes thought he was headed to the Toronto Raptors for a two-year deal worth $10 million, only to learn the Raptors didn't have the resources to make that deal happen.
UPDATE (this paragraph only): Wojnarowski now reports the deal is for two years and $3.6 million, and that Barnes is "expected" to sign it tonight.
Orlando Pinstriped Post reported on July 8th that the Lakers' interest in Barnes is "very real."
Barnes didn't exercise his $1.6 million player option with the Magic for this season, hoping to secure a long-term, high-dollar deal on the open market after playing a key role on the Magic's Eastern Conference Finalist team. When the Raptors' rich offer fell through, Barnes turned his attention to contending teams offering low-dollar deals, as well as the Cleveland Cavaliers, offering a portion of the mid-level exception.
Barnes' decision to decline his option netted him $100,000, which is far less than he expected. But playing for the two-time defending champs, in his home state--Barnes hails from Sacramento--is sure to alleviate some of that disappointment.
The Magic decided against offering Barnes a deal, preferring instead to sign Quentin Richardson, whom Magic GM Otis Smith deemed "a better skill player," in free agency. Assuming Barnes' deal with the Lakers goes through, he'll be the first of Orlando's four unrestricted free agents to leave. Adonal Foyle, Anthony Johnson, and Jason Williams are still on the market.