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Matt Barnes: Doc Rivers Never Wanted Me

In an interview with Shaun Powell of, Matt Barnes shares his thoughts on his relationship with his ex-coach Doc Rivers.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Barnes, who was the starting SF for the Clippers over the last 2 seasons, was traded early in the off-season along with Spencer Hawes to the Charlotte Hornets for Lance Stephenson. The move was made by the Clippers not only to rid themselves of a bad contract with Hawes, which has 2 guaranteed years along with a player option for a third year remaining, but also to get younger, swapping a 35 year old Barnes for a 25 year old Stephenson. The Hornets, with not much of a need for a 35 year old SF, turned around and traded Barnes to the Memphis Grizzlies, which may his best fit in the NBA.

Barnes has circled November 9 on his calendar, as an important early game in the season. Why? That will be his first visit to Staples Center to play against his former team, the Clippers. Actually, it's not the players he is focusing on, but his former coach, Doc Rivers. According to Barnes, during the two years that Rivers was the coach of the Clippers, he and his coach had a rocky relationship at best.

"Doc never wanted me. He couldn't wait to get rid of me. Doc and I never saw eye to eye. He tried to get me out of there the second he got there, so it wasn't too suprising to me what happened when things went south."

- Matt Barnes, on Coach Doc Rivers

With the Grizzlies, Barnes now has a home on a team that plays a style of basketball that is a perfect fit. The Grizzlies have always been a tough, defensive minded, never back down team. Clippers fans know this first hand from their head-to-head meetings over the past few seasons. We have also seen this same type of tough, defensive minded, never back down play from Barnes during his 3 seasons wearing the red, white and blue of the home team.

"I've always respected this team and what it does in order to win. This is a defense-first team. I've never been on a team that paid this much attention to defensive detail. It's something I appreciate and a place where I think I will thrive."

- Matt Barnes, on the Memphis Grizzlies

No matter how you feel about Matt Barnes now that he is with the enemy, whether you still like him, miss him, or are glad to see him off the Clippers, the one certain thing is that he will definitely be ready to play on November 9 at Staples Center, against his former coach.

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