SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Veteran NBA forward Matt Barnes officially joined the Golden State Warriors Thursday – a return that is drenched in plenty of emotions.
Speaking to reporters at the team shoot around before Thursday night’s game with the Chicago Bulls, Barnes was asked why he seems to be so emotional about his return to the team he played for from 2006-2008.
“This (playing for the Warriors) is the last place my mom saw me play before she died of cancer (in 2008),” he said. “There are a lot of special memories and relationships I built here. It’s just great to be back.”
Barnes said he talked with former Warriors teammate Stephen Jackson, who also got emotional on the call over his friend’s return to the Bay Area.
“Me and Jack talked at length and he said he ‘teared up’ (when he heard Barnes would be playing for the Warriors),” he said.
A lot has changed since Barnes was a member of the 2007 “We Believe” Warriors who stunned league-leading Dallas in the playoffs.
The stars are new – Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and the now injured Kevin Durant.
Barnes played for Don Nelson while Steve Kerr is now the head coach. Both coaches, the NBA veteran said, believe in small ball lineups.
“He (Nelson) was a small ball king,” Barnes said. “I was playing center in the playoffs and power forward. I think he kind of started that whole (small ball) culture. To be back here 10 years later, they (the current Warriors) picked up where we left off and have taken it to the next level.”
And how did Barnes – who was released from the Kings after the DeMarcus Cousins trade – find out about the trade to Golden State?
“I got a phone call,” he said. “I was at my kid’s basketball practice in LA…(Warriors assistant coach) Willie Green texted me. I guess KD got hurt that game, I wasn’t watching the game. We were talking about you…Two hours later I got a call from Steve Kerr… I was excited. Tremendously humbled and blessed.”