Matt Barnes

L.A. Notes: James, Deng, Gallinari, Barnes

LeBron James has expressed interest in being part of a future NBA Africa game, writes Lindsay du Plessis of ESPN, which would make him the biggest star ever to participate. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addressed the possibility in a news conference prior to today’s contest.

“Both Amadou [Gallo Fall, NBA managing director for Africa] and I have spoken directly to LeBron James, and he has stated that he would very much like to come to Africa and be part of the game,” Silver said. “I will say on his behalf that he has an extraordinarily complicated schedule, even in the offseason, and he is someone who, for the last eight years, has played in the NBA finals. So his season has gone from September to late June, so he has a very short break. During those summers he also often plays for the national team, Olympic Games, things like that.”

Silver added that the African experience, which includes several days of volunteer work as part of Basketball Without Borders, is high on James’ list of priorities and he expressed confidence that the Lakers star will be part of the game in the future.

There’s more NBA news from Los Angeles:

  • Luol Deng got a rare chance to show off his skills in today’s NBA Africa game and responded with 14 points, three steals and three rebounds, notes Mike Trudell of NBA.com. Deng played on opening night last season, then never got into another game as the Lakers devoted more minutes to their younger players. Deng, 33, is a two-time All-Star, but has become a salary cap problem for the Lakers with two seasons and $36.81MM left on his contract.
  • Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari looked fully healthy in capturing MVP honors in the game, writes Tim Daniels of Bleacher Report. Gallinari, who was limited to 21 games last season because of injuries and finished the season with a fractured right hand, hit nine of 10 shots and scored 23 points in leading the World Team to victory.
  • Matt Barnes blames “egos” for the Clippers‘ failure to advance past the second round of the playoffs when they had a core of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, relays Kurt Helin of NBC Sports. Barnes made the remarks in an appearance on AM 570 L.A. Sports, saying the team lacked the “mental toughness” to put together a championship run.

Matt Barnes To Retire

Veteran NBA forward Matt Barnes appears set to call it a career. While it’s not quite an official announcement, Barnes published an Instagram post today in which he reminisced about his “cool 15-year run” in the NBA and indicated that he’s ready to move on to the next chapter in his life.

You telling me I can dress like this for business meetings & make more money off the court than I made ON??” Barnes wrote. “And spend more time with my kids??!!”

Barnes, 37, entered the NBA as a second-round pick in 2002. After failing to earn a roster spot in his first professional season, Barnes joined the Clippers in 2003/04, then bounced to the Kings, Knicks, and Sixers over the next few years before breaking out for the Warriors in 2006/07.

Barnes’ time in the NBA, which also included stints with the Suns, Magic, Lakers, and Grizzlies, amounted to 929 regular season games, plus another 95 postseason contests. After averaging 8.2 PPG and 4.6 RPG over the course of his career, Barnes went out on top in 2017 — he joined the Warriors down the stretch and earned the first NBA championship of his career this past spring. Assuming Barnes doesn’t come out of retirement at some point, a cameo in Game 2 of this year’s Finals will go down as his last NBA appearance.

Although it’s not clear what the next stage of Barnes’ life holds, today’s Instagram post – which references “business meetings” and includes the hashtag #BillionaireBy50 – suggests that he’ll focus on business interests rather than looking to become an NBA coach, executive, or analyst.

Finals Roundup: Kerr, Warriors, Cavs, Barnes, West

An NBA general manager typically doesn’t need to confirm in the hours following a championship that his head coach will return for the following season, but in Steve Kerr‘s case, it wasn’t necessarily a sure thing — for health, rather than performance, reasons. However, despite Kerr’s back issues, Warriors general manager Bob Myers is confident that his head coach will be back on the bench for the 2017/18 season, as he tells Chris Haynes of ESPN.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he will return as the coach of this team,” Myers said after Game 5. “I’m confident we’ll have him back. Steve will be our coach.”

Kerr expressed a similar sentiment in a recent interview with Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News, suggesting that even if he wasn’t able to make it back to coach the Warriors in this year’s Finals, he’d be ready for opening night in the fall. Ultimately, Kerr returned to the sidelines in time to lead the Warriors to their second title in three years.

Here are a few more Finals-related odds and ends worth passing along:

  • Although it only took five games for the Warriors to dispatch of the Cavaliers, Cleveland head coach Tyronn Lue doesn’t believe there’s a “big gap”  between the two teams, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com details.
  • Within McMenamin’s piece, LeBron James acknowledged that the Warriors will “be around for a while,” but said he doesn’t think the Cavaliers are going anywhere either. “I know our front office is going to continue to try to put our franchise in a position where we can compete for a championship year in and year out,” James said. “Like I said, teams and franchises are going to be trying to figure out ways that they can put personnel together, the right group of guys together to be able to hopefully compete against [the Warriors].”
  • The Warriors are already massive favorites to win the 2018 NBA Finals, according to professional oddsmakers. “They’re going to be the highest favorite we’ve ever had going into a season, any team in any sport,” Jeff Sherman of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook tells David Purdum of ESPN.com.
  • The Cavaliers need to find a way to get younger and more athletic, according to Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net, who writes that the club’s bench is “a mess.”
  • After 14 NBA seasons, Matt Barnes finally has a championship under his belt, but he doesn’t plan to ride off into the sunset. According to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link), Barnes said that he has no plans to retire and hopes to return to the Warriors.
  • Two years ago, David West left $11MM on the table by turning down his option with the Pacers to chase a ring. Dakota Crawford of The Indianapolis Star takes a look at the culmination of West’s hunt for a championship.

Warriors Notes: Fraser, Kerr, Barnes, Livingston

Having to get by without Steve Kerr for the first 43 games of last season has made the transition easier this year, assistant coach Bruce Fraser tells Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News. Ongoing complications from Kerr’s 2015 back surgery forced him to miss Games 3 and 4 of the Trail Blazers series and have put his availability in question for the next round and beyond. Former NBA coach Mike Brown has taken over the team on an interim basis and “has been really good with letting our culture stay intact,” Fraser said.

Fraser adds that helping Kerr get healthy is the organization’s primary concern. “I used to ask him a lot at the beginning how he was doing and I could tell after a while he just didn’t like that question,” Fraser said. “He hides it from everyone. I’m no different. But he also doesn’t want you to feel sorry for him. He doesn’t want it to be a crutch for himself or a hindrance to the team or us. He learned how to manage it pretty well. So he was really good with it all–some moments better than others. It just got worse. We just need to get him back.”

There’s more Warriors news this morning:

  • Brown brings a different tone to Golden State’s huddles, but he is maintaining the same philosophies that Kerr employs, Kevin Durant says in the same piece. “They’re two different voices, two different personalities,” Durant said. “They work well with each other and they learn from each other I can tell. But we play a certain way and we’ve been playing that way the whole season. It’s not like coach Brown is coming in trying to change anything up. He’s coaching us within the flow of the game and whatever he sees he’s going to help us out.”
  • The Warriors are hoping to have Matt Barnes and Shaun Livingston available when their second-round series starts Tuesday, relays the Associated Press. Barnes, who has been out since April 8th with a foot injury, has been upgraded to probable for Game 1. Livingston remains questionable with a sprained finger on his right hand that he suffered in the opener against Portland. Durant is expected to play without the minutes restriction that was imposed when he returned from a strained left calf for Game 4 against the Blazers.
  • Center Zaza Pachulia talks the experience of being surrounded by mega-stars in the “Warriors Plus-Minus” podcast with Kawakami.

Kevin Durant To Play In Game 4

Kevin Durant will play in tonight’s matchup against the Blazers, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post tweets. Shaun Livingston and Matt Barnes will remain sidelined.

Golden State will be without Steve Kerr as well. Kerr is experiencing health issues which stem from the back surgery he underwent in 2015. He and Durant both missed the Warriors’ Game 3 win on Saturday.

Durant missed 22 games this season, including the two games he was sidelined for in this series. In his first postseason game with the Warriors last weekend, Durant scored 32 points and pulled down 11 boards before exiting the game with a calf injury.

Pacific Notes: Barnes, Iguodala, Kings

Matt Barnes will not play for the Warriors in today’s playoff game against the Blazers, CBS Sports relays. Barnes, who was signed by the team earlier this season in the wake of Kevin Durant‘s knee injury, is dealing with a sprained right foot.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Andre Iguodala is staying with Landmark Sports, Chris Haynes of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). Iguodala was previously represented by Rob Pelinka, who left the agency to become the Lakers’ GM. The Sixth Man of the Year candidate made slightly over $11.13MM for the Warriors this season in the last year of his contract.
  • Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee wonders if the Kings will be patient enough to build something sustainable. Jones believes the team needs to give its young talent time to develop, something that will require the ownership to have more patience than they’ve shown in the past.
  • The Kings could draft a point guard and re-sign either Ty Lawson or Darren Collison to mentor the young prospect, Jones contends in a separate piece. Sacramento has plenty of cap room this summer and Jones believes it could mean a lucrative contract for one of its veteran point guards.

Warriors Notes: Durant, Barnes, Green

Kevin Durant showed few effects from a knee injury as he returned to the court Saturday night, according to Janie McCauley of The Associated Press. The former MVP had 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists and seemed to move fine on his left knee after suffering a Grade 2 MCL sprain that sidelined him for 19 games. Golden State originally feared he would be lost for the season when he the injury occurred February 28th. “I think he looked great. It’s going to be hard for anybody to take off a month and come back and put on a great show,” said teammate Klay Thompson. “It was great to see that first play, him attacking the rim like that.”

There’s more this morning from the Pacific Division:

  • Durant’s return solves the Warriors’ depth problem at the wing and makes them clear favorites to win the West, writes Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN.com. Seven Golden State players reached double figures Saturday in a blowout of the Pelicans. Having Durant in the lineup puts the Warriors’ “super team” at full strength heading into the playoffs. “It felt normal again,” Durant said. “I’m a basketball player. I love playing basketball; that’s my favorite thing to do. So to feel like I’m part of the team, to feel like I’m a part of this energy that we have, it feels great.”
  • One concern that came out of Saturday’s game was a right ankle sprain suffered by forward Matt Barnes in the second quarter. However, Barnes said he expects to be ready when the playoffs start next weekend, tweets Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com. The 36-year-old signed with the Warriors in early March in the wake of Durant’s injury.
  • Draymond Green, one of the favorites to be named Defensive Player of the Year, had an in-depth talk about his defensive philosophy with Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News. Green has finished second in the balloting for the award the past two seasons.

Hoops Links: Murray, Maker, Barnes, Christmas

On Sundays, we link to some of the very best work from around the basketball blogosphere. Do you have a link to a great basketball blog post – either your own or someone else’s – that you want to see featured on Hoops Rumors? Send it to us at HoopsLinks@gmail.com. Here’s this week’s rundown:

Pacific Notes: Calderon, Suns, Clippers, Barnes

Jose Calderon received approximately $400K for his very brief stay with the Warriors, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets. Golden State signed the veteran point guard to a guaranteed contract for the remainder of the season, then released him approximately two hours later after Kevin Durant was injured. The Warriors then signed Matt Barnes on Thursday to fortify their small forward position. Calderon became a free agent after the Lakers bought him out on Monday.

In other news around the Pacific Division:

  • The Phoenix city council will pay a consulting group $75K to determine how to upgrade the Suns’ Talking Stick Resort Arena, Dustin Gardiner of the Arizona Republic reports. The Suns have played in the arena since 1992. The council paid the same consulting firm $190K last year to study options for building a new sports and entertainment arena, so this could signal a shift in the city’s plan to keep the team downtown, Gardiner adds.
  • The Clippers are 1-3 since the All-Star break and stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are trying to regain their offensive chemistry after overcoming injuries, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register writes. Paul just returned from a torn thumb ligament, and Griffin missed 18 games following knee surgery. “We don’t have much practice time. We’ve got games,” Paul told Oram. “Regardless, when you step on the court you [try to] win the game. Figure it out and win at the same time.”
  • Character issues played into the Kings’ decision to waive Barnes, Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee tweets. The team attempted to trade him and felt he was a bad influence on DeMarcus Cousins on and off the court, Voisin adds. Barnes and Cousins were sued following an incident in a New York nightclub in December.

Warriors Sign Matt Barnes

MARCH 2: The Warriors have officially signed Barnes to fill their 15th and final roster spot, the club announced today in a press release.

MARCH 1: The Warriors intend to sign free agent forward Matt Barnes to a contract, sources tell ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chris Haynes (Twitter link). Barnes will fill the 15th slot on Golden State’s roster and will receive a rest-of-season contract rather than a 10-day deal, per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com (via Twitter).Matt Barnes vertical

Jose Calderon, who will clear waivers on Wednesday, had been set to sign with the Warriors, having reached an agreement with the team over the weekend. As Stein explains (via Twitter), Golden State still plans to sign Calderon as promised. However, the team will then waive him in order to sign Barnes.

The Dubs’ change of direction – from Calderon to Barnes – comes on the heels of Kevin Durant leaving Tuesday night’s game against the Wizards with a hyperextended left knee. The severity of that injury won’t be confirmed until Durant undergoes an MRI, but the fact that the Warriors are adding Barnes suggests that the club may view the injury as more than just a day-to-day issue.

Barnes, who will turn 37 next Thursday, signed a two-year deal with the Kings last summer and appeared in 54 games for the team this season. In 25.3 minutes per contest, Barnes recorded 7.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 2.8 APG. However, he lost his roster spot last week when Sacramento needed to cut a player in order to complete the DeMarcus Cousins trade. The Kings waived Barnes despite the fact that he had a $6.4MM player option for 2017/18.

Barnes, a Warrior from 2006 to 2008, will come with some baggage as he begins his second stint in Golden State. The UCLA product was allegedly involved in an altercation at a Chelsea nightclub in early December, and was recently booked for misdemeanor assault. He’ll have to appear in a Manhattan courtroom at a later date as a result of the charge.

Because he was waived prior to March 1, Barnes will be playoff-eligible for Golden State. Calderon will also retain his postseason eligibility as long as he’s signed and waived by the Warriors before the end of the day on Wednesday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.