MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes said he wouldn’t do anything to hurt his team Saturday night, but he sounds as if he still wants to hurt Derek Fisher.
Barnes got into a fight with Fisher at the home of Barnes’ estranged wife in October, and the Knicks-Grizzlies game Saturday night at FedEx Forum marked the first time the two have been in the same place since then. But Barnes didn’t plan to have any interaction with Fisher, his former Lakers teammate.
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“I just don’t like him. And he knows I don’t like him,” Barnes said after the Grizzlies’ morning shootaround. “So don’t say nothing to me, and I don’t plan on saying nothing to him. Don’t try to shake my hand. None of that. There’s nothing there. There never will be.”
The NBA suspended Barnes two games for “engaging in a physical altercation and threatening” Fisher. The Knicks coach reportedly is in a relationship with Barnes’ estranged wife, Gloria Govan.
Barnes said he has received support from former players, coaches and GMs around the league as well as actors and entertainers, and that he doesn’t regret driving to his former home to confront Fisher.
“Every man who looks at the situation knows what’s right and wrong,” Barnes said. “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.”
When asked what his supporters have said to him, Barnes responded: “Everyone from the top to bottom would’ve done the same thing. When it comes to family, it’s family. Unfortunately, you have to watch who you call friends these days. That’s it.”
Barnes, in interviews and on his Instagram page, has called Fisher “a snitch” and “a snake.”
Fisher, who was not disciplined by the league, hasn’t responded to any of the things Barnes has said or written about him.
Barnes was asked why he thinks Fisher hasn’t said anything or defended himself to the media.
“Because he knows he’s wrong,” Barnes said. “You know what I mean? And he already took one L [loss in the fight]. So what’s the point?”
“I guess people just come up different ways and I guess he just came up in a different way. So I can’t really say what I want to say because I’ve already been fined and suspended, so. It is what it is.”
Barnes said the NBA hasn’t contacted him, but he knows he has to be “on alert.”
“I know that I’m important to the team,” he said, “and anything I do can affect — me getting suspended is not good for the team.”
At the morning shootaround, Fisher chose to talk about what it would take to win without Carmelo Anthony, who sat out the game with a sprained ankle.
“It’s another game for me,” Fisher said. “If we win, of course, yeah, let’s get the win and keep moving. Other than that, we’re here to try to win this game. Melo’s probably out, so it makes things a little bit interesting for us in terms of preparation, but we’re still here to try to win.”
Before the game, Fisher was asked two more questions about Barnes. After the first, he stared at the reporter for about 10 seconds. After the second, Fisher clearly was annoyed.
“Look, man, we’re here to play basketball,” he said. “This is a basketball game. This is not about me or what happened. This is about the game. So if you guys have some basketball questions, that’s what I’m here for. I’ve answered all these questions plenty of times. There’s nothing to talk about. Decisions have been made. I say we move on.”