Matt Barnes fined $35K for comments about Derek Fisher

ByOhm Youngmisuk ESPN logo
Sunday, January 17, 2016

Memphis Grizzliesforward Matt Barnes was fined $35,000 by the NBA for his "inappropriate" comments concerning New York Knicks coach Derek Fisher.

Barnes and Fisher, two former friends and ex-Lakers teammates who were involved in an off-the-court altercation centered around Barnes' estranged wife back in October, were reunited on Saturday night during the Grizzlies' 103-95 win over the Knicks. The two did not appear to interact at all. However, Barnes talked about Fisher several times in the days leading up to the game, and some of his comments drew the league's ire.

"Matt Barnes' comments condoning violence do not reflect who we are as a league or the character of our players," said Kiki VanDeWeghe, NBA executive vice president of basketball operations. "His words are unacceptable and entirely inconsistent with the core principles of this game and the NBA."

Barnes was suspended for two games after the league investigated the altercation between Barnes and Fisher at the home of Gloria Govan in Los Angeles on Oct. 3. The NBA Players Association filed a grievance to try to recoup lost salary during the two-game ban.

"There's support throughout the league, other leagues, GMs, owners, entertainers, actors, everybody," Barnes told reporters of how he drew support for his role in the altercation with Fisher. "It's been a great support. Every man who looks at the situation knows what's right and wrong. Violence is never the answer, but sometimes it is. And unfortunately, it happened.

"I don't regret it. Like, man to man knows who's wrong and who's right. The NBA decided to step in and did what they did. But it is what it is."

Barnes had told the New York Daily News on Thursday that he would not talk to Fisher when he saw him because "I don't talk to snakes." He also referred to the Knicks coach as a "snitch."

"I just don't like him, plain and simple," said Barnes, who had five assists, nine rebounds and two points against the Knicks. "He knows I don't like him. Don't say nothing to me, I don't plan on saying nothing to him. Don't try to shake my hand. There's none of that. There's nothing there. There never will be. Just stay away from me basically."

Barnes told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne that he went to Govan's home after receiving text messages from and using FaceTime with his 6-year-old twin sons, believing they felt uncomfortable. Barnes said one of his sons told him, "Mommy's friend Derek is here."

Fisher has deflected questions about Barnes.

"Because he knows he's wrong," Barnes said. "You know what I mean? And he already took one L. So what's the point?"