Barnes had an excellent rhythm going after the All-Star break, but rolled his ankle in the second-to-last regular season games and was unable to garner consistent playing time upon returning in the playoffs, averaging only 16.8 per game towards 3.5 points and 3.3 boards.
Below is a summary of his exit interview:
- The main frustration for Barnes, not just this season but last, was having injuries derail strong rhythm he’d found heading into the postseason. Barnes not only had an ankle sprain that didn’t fully heal, but a messed up neck (his sons jumped on him before the first playoff game, he said) that required shots just for him to be able to move it. It’s something that can happen to any player in any sport, but is especially tough for a guy who came to the Lakers for almost the sole purpose of being a difference maker when it counted. When he was right physically, Barnes was a solid bench producer in his two seasons in Los Angeles, contributing on the glass, on D and in transition but also with his general activity and toughness.
- Barnes wouldn’t have traded his experience in Los Angeles despite taking less money to come in the first place and not reaching his championship goal. He really valued his time, but as a free agent, doesn’t know what will happen next season.
- Barnes did not play in the final game against Oklahoma City after struggling to find his game in limited minutes coming off the injuries, and while he said he’d have liked to have played more, understood that the coaching staff had to make the decisions it thought best to produce a win. He was always a good teammate, encouraging others, trying to offer advice and refusing to sulk. A loyal guy, Barnes was very well liked by his teammates.
- Barnes with a quick summary of it being tough learning a new system from a new coaching staff: “It was an old system meeting a completely new system.”
- On if the Lakers could have won, and why they didn’t: “Yes. I just didn’t feel we really hit our stride. I think at times we showed flashes of how dominant we could be, but we really didn’t reel off six, seven, eight or nine consistent, convincing wins that you kind of need to to really feel good about yourself. Any time you have a big three like we have, you’re always going to have a chance, but it takes more than three guys to win and there wasn’t really that consistency.