Matt Barnes certainly was no superstar in the NBA, but he sure put together a nice career that spanned 14 years with nine different teams. He was never an NBA All-Star but filled his role to perfection. The 6-foot-7, 225-pound forward never spent more than four seasons with any one team, and those four years came during two different stints with the Los Angeles Clippers. He was clearly a role player, which makes it interesting that he never picked up his championship ring with the Golden State Warriors. Barnes felt he didn’t have an impact on the team to deserve one.
Matt Barnes’ NBA career
Matt Barnes played his college basketball at UCLA. He was a second-round pick by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2002 NBA draft. He was immediately dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers. After spending some time in the NBA’s D-League and the ABA, Barnes signed a pair of 10-day contracts with the Los Angeles Clippers and finished out the 2003-04 season.
Barnes was signed by the Sacramento Kings for the 2004-2005 season and then bounced around the league, playing for the Kings, Knicks, Sixers, and Warriors between 2005 and 2007. When he signed with the Warriors in 2006, Barnes opened some eyes by tying a team record for seven 3-pointers in a game after having made 10 in his entire career. During the 2006-07 season, Barnes made 106 3-pointers. His previous best was five with the Kings in the 2004-05 season.
Barnes had his best season in his only season with the Phoenix Suns during the 2008-09 season. In 77 games, Barnes averaged 10.2 and 5.5 rebounds per game. Barnes knocked down 117 3-pointers. For his career, Barnes finished with averages of 8.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.
Barnes’ lone championship season with the Golden State Warriors
In February of 2017, Barnes was waived by the Sacramento Kings during his second run with the team. Two weeks later, he was signed by the Golden State Warriors for their postseason run. During his second stint with the Kings, Barnes had been averaging 7.6 points and 5.4 rebounds in 54 games before he was let go.
Barnes was signed by the Warriors to be a role player off the bench. He wasn’t expected to play a lot of minutes with Golden State’s loaded lineup. when Kevin Durant got hurt, Barnes experienced an increase in minutes, but when Durant returned, he went back to his limited role.
Barnes then got injured himself, spraining his ankle. He missed the first two rounds of the playoffs before being healthy enough to return to play the remainder of the playoffs. During the 20 games he played in the regular season for the Warriors, Barnes started five of them and averaged 5.7 points per game.
Barnes said he doesn’t deserve a ring
During his All the Smoke podcast with former NBA player Stephen Jackson, Barnes spoke about getting a “free ride” when he signed on the Warriors late in the season to join their championship run in 2017. He said he got a ring with the team, but still hasn’t picked it up because he feels he didn’t deserve it.
“When people say you won a ring, I don’t count that for the exact same reason you said. I was playing good,” Barnes said to Tracy McGrady, a guest on the show. “I came in when KD went down, played consistent 20, 25 minutes a game. KD comes back, I get hurt maybe a week before the playoffs, and I’m out of it. Worst ankle sprain of my life, I’m not healthy until the end of the second round where they’re already 8-0.
“So, me being a vet, knowing they’re not gonna change the rotation, I don’t expect them to change the rotation. I’m just gonna sit here and be a super vet and cheer these motherf—ers on, talk to people when they need to be talking to and just enjoy the ride. We did win it, but — god, it’s amazing to hear you say — I don’t count that ring … I don’t count that as a championship.” Barnes even said he never picked up the ring. He believes it’s still in the office of Raymond Ritter, a media executive with the team.