Derek Fisher and the Clippers Ruined Matt Barnes Year

The entertainment value of social media gets a boost whenever Matt Barnes feels like venting about whatever Matt Barnes feels like venting about. Absent a filter, Barnes just lays it on the line and it’s neither good nor bad, right or wrong, all these emotions spiraling out his brain into characters on Instagram. In this case, it was a perfect storm. The year was ending, he was slapped with a two-game suspension, and he was bitter about what happened to him the last seven months.

This is what happened to him the last seven months.

He had an abysmal playoff run that ended with the Clippers choking away a 3-1 series lead to the Houston Rockets, sending them home (again) instead of to the Western Conference Finals. The blame game had the Clippers shipping out their failed bench to get Lance Stephenson. Barnes contract was needed to make the money work. Barnes was on an expiring deal.

Truth be told, Rivers was getting tired of Barnes hyper-emotive style of play where a technical foul was always threatening, and at the worst moment. Barnes has never been particularly skilled at impulse control. It’s one thing when he is making shots from the perimeter which is all the Clippers asked him to do, then a lot is forgiven. But when he’s not effective or efficient, and he’s in full mode Matt Barnes rage, he’s a liability.

In the Houston series, there was one incident in which he began spewing an expletive filled tirade at someone courtside. It turned out to be James Harden’s mother. So not cool.

Expendable, Barnes went to the Hornets in a trade. The Hornets waived him. A free agent, he signed with the Memphis Grizzlies. No disrespect to the Grizzlies, it was a good pickup for them. Matt Barnes psychosis fits in with the whole Grizzlies hard-ass pathology and they needed someone who could make an outside shot every now and then since that has been their weakness the past few years.

But Memphis ain’t L.A. on any scale. Barnes kids were in L.A. His family is in California. His life was there and so is his heart. He’s a native of the state. He loves Cali.

“…traded away from a team & city I love. They call that the business.” (Matt Barnes, a Laker and Clipper from 2010-2015, on Instagram)

Barnes being Barnes, he used the Memphis change in scenery into a Clippers-did-this-to-me rage, vowing to pay them back and frankly, if that was his mindset going in, it was a good one. The one team that the Clippers have a tortured history with, other than the Warriors, are the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies toughness is an anecdote to the Clippers lob game and playing pretty all the time. Memphis will give Barnes a revenge story except this is the thing- he actually has to live in Memphis to reap the benefits of revenge.

The Memphis trade kicked off Matt Barnes summer and kept it active until what really made Matt Barnes year of 2015 go to hell surfaced: Derek Fisher.

The former (Lakers) teammates got into it over Barnes estranged wife. Say whatever you want about the violation of the man code when Fisher began dating the wife of his former teammate and friend, Barnes reaction to an incident in which his kids were present was the worst of Matt Barnes.

Barnes is filled with passion- a good thing.  It sometimes crosses the line as it did that night in October when Barnes drove to his estranged wife’s house, propelled into impulsiveness by a hybrid version of male possessive pride. He got into it with Fisher. When it was all said and done, Fisher, according to reports, had face marks, and Barnes had the police called on him, and the leading role in a story that blew up the internet, precipitating a two game suspension.

After two and a half months would cooler heads have prevailed? It’s Matt Barnes, so no.

“…stuck in the ‘triangle offense’ w my ex & snitch, I mean former teammate & friend, who went behind my back, mess w my ex, got caught, got dealt w for being a snake, then ran & told the Police & NBA. Instead of taking that a– whoopin lik a man & kept moving…WHERE THEY DO THAT AT? Guess cause I didn’t SNITCH, I get a 2 game suspension by the league. ‘They call that LIFE'”. (Matt Barnes, Instagram)

His logic is twisted (this is the same person who implied he was dating Rhianna until she put his delusions on blast). It is all part of the Matt Barnes can’t see the forest for the trees reasoning. His suspension was for bringing his dirty laundry into the public arena by way of clocking Fisher, not because Fisher ratted him out. In this culture, your reputation precedes you and your reputation causes people to react in ways they wouldn’t otherwise because you like to push the chaos envelope.

Barnes freely admits to his participation level in some of his 2015 setbacks and that bad things happen to everyone, so he’s no different than the rest of us. Yes and no.  For us, there is a place we go when we can’t control our impulses. It’s called jail. For athletes, it’s losing money via the suspension route, jail not an option.

Yet and still, Barnes can have the last word.

The Clippers and Grizzlies are vying for the same seed, #4. If the Grizzlies get it and the Clippers don’t, if the Clippers get the #5 seed and have to go to Memphis for the opening round, we know who will be waiting to kick them out the playoffs and then gloat about it on Instagram.

Matt Barnes.

photo via llananba