All the critics cracking jokes about the Lakers' free agent signings will have to eat their words -- so says NBA champ Matt Barnes ... who tells TMZ Sports L.A.'s older roster is actually a GOOD thing!!!
It's no secret -- the Lake Show didn't get any younger this off-season ... adding guys like Russell Westbrook (32), Dwight Howard (35), Carmelo Anthony (37), Trevor Ariza (36), Wayne Ellington (33) and more to join forces with LeBron James (36) and Anthony Davis (28).
Of course, those guys have all been around the block a few times ... with people (not us) comparing the team more to a retirement home than title contenders.
But, Barnes ain't in that group ... 'cause he tells us he's a fan of what the Purple and Gold have done so far.
"I like what they're doing, man," Barnes tells us. "I think you know, they’re saying the team is old, but they got a lot of experience, a lot of great players. So, I'm excited to see what happens.
Of course, Barnes makes it clear the guys have to stay healthy throughout the season ... but thinks everyone's on the same page and knows they have a long journey ahead.
"I just think older people work smarter, so they're going to understand how to work even when they need to do the work during the season and understand that it's a marathon, and I think they're going to be okay with it."
Barnes -- who played in the Association 'til he was 37 -- tells us there are a few key things older athletes gotta do to keep healthy ... and it's some pretty plant-friendly advice!!