Matt Barnes has become a veteran leader since signing with the Kings in July, but he entered free agency expecting to return to the Clippers, relays Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Barnes spent three years with the Clippers before being traded to Charlotte after the 2014/15 season. Ten days later, he was shipped to Memphis in another deal. Even though coach Doc Rivers opted to get rid of him, Barnes was expecting a reunion this summer. “I thought it was a done deal, I was going to the Clippers,” Barnes said. “The day before I was supposed to meet with Doc, they decided to go in another direction with Wesley Johnson. That was obviously my first choice at the time, to be close to my kids. Golden State was always a choice; they just didn’t have very much money. I’ve always been the guy to take less money to play on a better team, but the price gap was too far on this one.”
There’s more from the Pacific Division:
- Chris Paul‘s return has boosted the Clippers‘ confidence as they try to fight back from their recent six-game losing streak, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Paul believes he is finally over the left hamstring problems that sidelined him for seven of the past eight games. “I want to hoop, regardless,” Paul said. “But the toughest thing is when you can’t. Ain’t no point coming out there and not being you and hurt the team.”
- Friday’s meltdown against the Grizzlies is part of an ongoing problem for the Warriors, writes Anthony Slater of The San Jose Mercury News. Even with a 31-6 record, Golden State has been outscored by 15 points this season in the fourth quarter and overtime. The Warriors have played 38 clutch minutes since December began and have been outscored by 21 points. “We’re not used to these fourth quarter struggles,” said coach Steve Kerr. “We’ve really closed teams well the last couple years. So it feels different. It feels weird.”
- Kerr has a lot of work ahead to turn a wealth of talent into a “super team” in time for the playoffs, contends Marcus Thompson II of The Mercury News. Thompson argues that the free agent signing of Kevin Durant disrupted team chemistry and says Kerr has three months to restore it.