Matt Barnes on what caused him to rapidly sign with Kobe Bryant’s Lakers despite enticing offer from Dwyane Wade, Pat Riley

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South Florida was once home to the most dominant NBA team in the league when the Miami Heat boasted a superteam with Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

During that time, plenty of talented veterans flocked to Miami in hopes of being part of a championship squad. Of course, the Heat’s Big 3 went to four straight NBA Finals and won two championships.

However, Matt Barnes was not one of the veterans who joined Miami. Barnes recently explained why he chose to join Kobe Bryant and the Lakers instead of signing with the Heat.

“I was actually on the phone with Pat Riley and D-Wade,” Barnes said. “I was about to go to Miami. Cause they were like, wouldn’t really say it, but Bron was coming. … Out of the blue I get a call from Kob from a number I don’t have saved, and I couldn’t believe it was him first of all, and just like, ‘What are you doing?’ I was just like, ‘I thought I was coming back to Orlando. It’s not happening. I’m actually talking to D-Wade and Pat Riley about going to Miami.’ And he’s like, ‘Well s—, you want to be a Laker?’ And I grew up in California, Magic Johnson fan. I’m like, ‘Hell f—— yeah.’ And I tell you four or five days later, I was a Laker.”

Barnes never did end up winning a championship with the Lakers. If he had played for the Heat in the years that he played for the Lakers, there’s a pretty could chance he would’ve won a ring.

Luckily for Barnes, he played for the Golden State Warriors in the final season of his career and won a title in 2017.

Aside from that, Barnes is likely very grateful that he decided to join Bryant and the Lakers. After all, he was able to form a personal relationship with Bryant and has played a part in keeping the Lakers legend’s memory alive despite his tragic passing back in 2020.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Heat Nation.