Derek Fisher not focusing on Matt Barnes ahead of first matchup since October confrontation

ByIan Begley ESPN logo
Friday, January 15, 2016

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Knicks coach Derek Fisher doesn't expect to have any run-ins with Matt Barnes on Saturday when his team plays the Memphis Grizzlies.

"No, I really don't," Fisher said after practice Friday. "We're trying to win games, and that's really all that I'm thinking about as a coach. ... Those are the thoughts that I'm having. I don't concern myself with the other stuff."

Barnes and Fisher will be in the same building Saturday for the first time since the two ex-Lakers were involved in an off-the-court altercation at the home of Barnes' ex-wife in Los Angeles on Oct. 3.

Barnes said Thursday that he doesn't expect to address Fisher during the game.

"I don't talk to snakes," Barnes told the New York Daily News, adding "I know I got to keep my mouth shut because then he'll run and tell. So we're focused on playing that team [the Knicks]. And when I'm retired, him and I will cross paths again."

Fisher had little reaction to Barnes' comments.

"It has no impact on me, really," Fisher said. "So I don't think about it. It has nothing to do with us trying to figure out how to win the game tomorrow, so I don't really think much about it at all. I obviously respect what [the media has] to do, in terms of the question. But it's of no consequence to me at this point. I'm just continuing to move forward and trying to help this team be successful."

Barnes was suspended two games by the NBA for the incident, which occurred during a party at the home of Gloria Govan. Barnes told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne that he went to Govan's home to check on his 6-year-old twin sons after receiving text messages and using FaceTime with his sons and sensing they were uncomfortable. Barnes said one of the twins told him, "Mommy's friend Derek is here."

Barnes lives about 15 minutes from Govan's house in Redondo Beach, California. He drove to the home, where the situation among Barnes, Fisher and Govan escalated and a physical altercation reportedly took place. No charges were filed.

The NBA has said its investigation of the incident is closed, so no punishment is expected for Fisher. The National Basketball Players Association has filed a grievance on behalf of Barnes in an attempt to recoup the player's lost salary during suspension.

While Fisher has mostly deflected questions on the incident, Barnes has shared his opinion on it several times, including in an Instagram post on New Year's Eve.

Carmelo Anthony said Friday that the incident between Fisher and Barnes is not a topic of discussion among his teammates.

"Nobody even brings it up," he said. "So we're going to try to keep that outside of here. I don't think that our coach is even thinking about that at this point."