Esk hopeful NBA brother will join him in Canada

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:58 PM ET

They share the same last name, similar looks and — up until Tuesday — it looked like they’d be sharing the same country once again.

Edmonton Eskimos wide receiver Jason Barnes would have had the chance to welcome his older brother Matt to Canada had the Toronto Raptors been able to sign the six-foot-seven, 226-pound NBA free agent.

However, financial hurdles have stalled the prematurely reported deal, estimated to be between $9 million and $10 million over two years.

“The last thing I heard (Tuesday) morning is the deal didn’t go through,” said 26-year-old Jason, who is four years younger than Matt. “It’s kind of disappointing, but besides that I thought both of us were going to be up here, so we’ll wait and see.”

Jason — who grew up with his brother in Fair Oaks, Calif., where they both played basketball and football in high school — said the closer the better when it comes to family.

“I always wanted to play in the same city as him,” Jason said. “I thought at least definitely the same country. I definitely had a little influence on him coming up here. Besides that, I don’t know if he would have came but hopefully it works out. It would be pretty awesome for him to play up here with me.”

While Matt announced his deal with the Raptors through Twitter on Monday night, monetary details interrupted the proceedings between the Raptors and Matt’s former team, the Orlando Magic.

“He told me a couple weeks ago it was a possibility, so I know they’ve been talking,” Jason said. “I knew that was in the mix. I guess the organizations couldn’t get it going.”

If Jason had his way, he would choose a more tropical location for his brother to play.

“Me personally, I would want him to go somewhere warm so I could visit him in the off-season seeing as how I’m up here.”

Jason said he isn’t surprised his brother is starting to make some noise around the league.

“People are definitely starting to appreciate his game and everything. He’s not a big scorer but he brings intangibles to a team like hustle and rebounding, the dirty work that people don’t want to do.”


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