Matt -- who played for the Purple and Gold for two seasons -- spoke about the recent Irving rumors out at LAX this week ... and he told us if Uncle Drew ends up with the Lakers, it could result in the franchise's 18th championship.
Barnes thinks Irving -- who is rumored to be at a standstill in contract negotiations with the Nets -- would be the perfect fit for the Lake Show ... which would set him up with his old teammate in Cleveland.
"I think what they have right now," Barnes said, "if they can learn to co-exist with the group they have now, they're really close."
Barnes told us the biggest key for Irving -- who missed a ton of games over the years for a bevy of reasons -- succeeding or failing in L.A. is his level of commitment to playing.
Of course, the Lakers still have Anthony Davis, who (when healthy) is still considered a top 10 player in the league ... but Barnes thinks Kyrie is the missing piece Bron and AD need to win another ring.
"Kyrie is probably a top 5 talent in the world, but you never know what you're going to get. So, if Kyrie is committed to playing whether he plays in Brooklyn or the Lakers, he definitely makes them a title contender."